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Jul 28, 2020 Return to Headlines

Be Mindful of Fire Safety While Doing Home Renovations

by Colleen Smith |

COQUITLAM, B.C., July 2​8, 2020 – Residents planning home renovations this summer can minimize their risk from fires by following some simple guidelines.

Homes that encroach on forests and wildlands are particularly at risk of wildfire spread between vegetation and structures. Coquitlam Fire/Rescue recommends using construction materials that can reduce a fire’s spread and extend the amount of time it takes for a home to ignite and burn. 

All homeowners should consult local bylaws and registered covenants on the use of materials and design approaches prior to building construction.

Construction Tips 

  • Ensure adequate fire protection is provided during construction. This includes hot-works safety practices during welding, roofing and plumbing installations. Construction fire safety plans are required.
  • Replacing your roof? Fire-resistant rated materials may provide additional protection. Options include concrete tile, slate, metal and terra-cotta.
  • Construct decks with non-combustible or fire-resistant materials. Cover with solid surfaces as opposed to slotted surfaces that allow needles and other flammable materials to accumulate below the deck.
  • Ensure that outdoor structures, such as gazebos, have at least nine metres separation from the house or other structures.
  • Relocate flammable debris at least 10 metres away from the home.
  • Do not litter cigarette butts or do any outdoor burning.

Landscaping Tips

  • Where possible, refrain from planting or landscaping with highly-flammable trees such as evergreens and bark-mulch, opting instead for Fire-Smart choices such as deciduous shrubs or trees, succulent plants, slow-growing plants that have thick, woody stems and are situated well away from the home. 
  • Use decorative rock mulch or lava stones around any shrubbery that is within two metres of your house.
  • Use gardens and flower beds as effective fire breaks.

Don’t Let Our Parks Go Up in Smoke
Coquitlam Fire/Rescue is also asking residents to take steps that can both reduce and limit the risk of fire in our community by adhering to City bylaws that ban open air burning, littering cigarette butts and smoking in parks. 

The City’s bylaw officers are continuing their patrols of green spaces and parks and will be handing out $500 fines for smoking, including vaping and cannabis, in City parks. Littering of cigarette butts can also result in a fine of $150.

All residents and park users are asked to take precautions against accidental fires and be alert to signs of fire. Report any signs of smoke or fire by calling 9-1-1 immediately.

For more safety information, visit www.coquitlam.ca/firesafety.