Knowing the top causes of fires is a good way to start learning how to prevent fires. Did you know that cooking is the number one cause of fires in the home? Heating, electrical, smoking and candles are also among the top five causes.
You can also help prevent fire damage and injury by ensuring your family is prepared for a fire emergency by developing a home fire escape plan, and installing and regularly inspecting both smoke alarms and Carbon Monoxide detectors.
As you move your clocks ahead this weekend, take the time to test that your smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector are working correctly and replace their batteries. Check out more detailed tips and information below.
Knowing the top causes of fires is a good way to start learning how to prevent fires. Cooking is the Number 1 cause of fires in the home. Heating, electrical, smoking and candles are also among the top five causes. To reduce these types of fires, follow these simple steps.
Cooking provides an outlet for creativity and can be relaxing - help prevent cooking fires by staying in the kitchen while using the stove.
Never leave your cooking, (including the barbecue) unattended!
Keep anything that can catch fire - oven mitts, wooden utensils, towels - away from your stove top. And never put water on a grease/oil fire!
Please ensure all home heating appliances, like furnaces, gas fireplaces, chimneys, space heaters, etc., are in good working condition.
Ensure that heaters are plugged directly in to the wall and remember to place portable devices at least 1 metre away from flammable materials and turn them off while you’re sleeping or when you leave your home.
Electricity makes our lives easier, but we need to be cautious and keep safety in mind especially during the holiday season when we have more items plugged in such as Christmas lights.
Remember to only use approved light sets only, do not overload circuits, check all light sets prior to use discarding any that are frayed or damaged and use proper clips - not staples - to install outdoors. Extension cords and power bars should be used as a temporary measure only.
Always turn off lights before leaving home or going to bed.
Candles may be pretty to look at but their open flame can easily ignite anything – choose battery-operated “flameless” candles as a great alternative.
If you must use candles, keep them on a flat, non-combustible surface, away from anything that can burn, and never leave them unattended.
Smoking should be done outside only, and cigarettes shall be extinguished using a designated ashtray or water. Never try to extinguish cigarettes in garden soil or plant pots.
For more information on how to keep your home and family safe, visit the National Fire Protection Association website. There, you can access Safety Tip Sheets and Safety Tip Sheets in Other Languages.
Working smoke alarms in the home reduce the risk of dying in a house fire by 50%. Every home is required to have working smoke alarms. Smoke alarms should be installed on every level of the home, on the ceiling outside of sleeping areas. Smoke alarms should be tested once per month, and batteries should be replaced twice a year. If your smoke alarm is older than 10 years, it is time to replace it. Check your smoke alarms today!
For more information on smoke alarms, view the "Smoke Alarms at Home" Tip Sheet (PDF).
Having a home fire escape plan in place is an important part of being prepared for a fire emergency. Every room should have two ways out, aisles should be clear, and an outside meeting place should be assigned. All family members should be familiar with the plan, and the entire family should practice escaping at least twice a year.
For more information, and for a family-friendly guide on how to create your family’s fire escape plan, view the "How to Make a Home Fire Escape Plan" Tip Sheet (PDF).
Carbon monoxide ("the silent killer") is an invisible, odorless, colorless gas that is created when fuels (such as gasoline, natural gas, propane oil, wood, coal and methane) burn incompletely. In the home, heating and cooking equipment that burn fuel can be sources of carbon monoxide. If you have these appliances in your home, you should also have a carbon monoxide detector.
A person can be poisoned by a small amount of Carbon Monoxide over a longer period of time, or by a large amount of Carbon Monoxide over a shorter amount of time.
For more information on Carbon Monoxide and Carbon Monoxide detectors, view the "Carbon Monoxide Safety" Tip Sheet (PDF).
Children can and should be taught fire safety from a very young age. Here are a few steps you can take:
For more information, activities and lesson plans about Fire Safety for Kids, visit Sparky.org.