Autumn Fire Safety
As summer turns to fall, it’s a good idea to refresh your memory on fall fire safety tips. Some safety tips are the same regardless of the time of year, but many safety concerns are seasonal, particularly those that involve keeping your home warm.
Outside the Home
Flammable liquids should not be stored in inside the home or in an attached garage or shed. This includes any unused fuel still in the fuel tank. Store this equipment away from your home or drain excess fuel out of the tank before storing. This simple safety precaution will help prevent accidental fires from escaping fuel vapors.
Remove fuel from lawn mowers before storing them for winter.
Contact your utility company if trees or branches are not clear of power lines
Prune back trees, and rake up leaves and debris. If you live in an open area with a lot of natural vegetation, consider creating a defensible fire zone around your home. Prune the bottom branches from trees and remove shrubs and trees within 20 feet of your home
Don’t store cardboard boxes, paper or other flammable materials in the backyard. These materials provide ready fuel for a fire and all it takes is one spark.
Heating your Home
Check all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to make sure they work, and change the batteries. It is the law for all Ontario homes to have a working smoke alarm on every storey and outside all sleeping areas. This covers single family, semi-detached and town homes, whether owner-occupied or rented.
Have a useable fire extinguisher available.
Get your central heating system cleaned, inspected and serviced by a certified HVAC (heating, venting and air conditioning) contractor every year before using it.
If you have a gas heater, make sure that you have a sufficient quantity of fully functioning carbon monoxide detectors installed in your home.
Keep all flammable materials away from your furnace. This includes, clothing, paint products, toxic materials, cardboard and more.
Fireplaces and Woodstoves
Have heating appliances serviced and chimney flues examined for defects.
Have fireplaces and fireplace dampers checked.
Fireplaces should be equipped with an appropriate screen or glass enclosure to prevent sparks from flying out.
Wood burning stoves should be examined and the flue and chimney checked for creosote buildup. Creosote is a deposit from smoke that can build up in a chimney and can start a fire.
Use only seasoned woods, and avoid soft woods like Pine, etc.
Never use a flammable liquid to start a fireplace.
Never overload the hearth with wood or artificial logs, the resulting fire may be too large for the unit.
Put all ashes outdoors and away from the house in a metal container.
Make sure that any space heaters are surrounded by at least three feet of empty space.
Never place clothing or any other objects on a space heater to dry.
Do not place space heaters near furniture or drapery.
Turn space heaters off when you leave the house or go to bed.
Avoid storing any combustible items near heaters.
In the home
Cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires and home injuries. The leading cause of fires in the kitchen is unattended cooking. Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling, or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove. If you are simmering, baking, roasting, or boiling food, check it regularly, remain in the home while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you that you are cooking. Keep anything that can catch fire — oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels or curtains — away from your stovetop.
Do not overload electrical outlets or use extension cords in the place of additional outlets.
Check electrical appliances regularly for wearing cords and plugs. Do not leave electrical appliances plugged in if they do not need to be.
Lack of maintenance is the number one cause of dryer fires. That is why it is critical to clean the lint filter before and after each use, and wipe away any lint that has accumulated around the drum. Perform periodic checks to ensure that the air exhaust vent pipe is unobstructed (lint accumulation) and the outdoor vent flap opens readily. Do not run the dryer without a lint filter. You are encouraged to not leave the dryer running if you go out, in case it malfunctions.