No one plans on having a fire destroy their home and ruin their lives, but there are measures you can take to protect your home beyond having a working smoke and CO2 detector.
There are simple and inexpensive ways you can help ensure the protection of your valuables, home and family.
- Fire extinguisher – Keep a fire extinguisher near your kitchen and have it handy when barbecuing or outdoors when enjoying your backyard fire pit. Be sure your fire extinguisher is recharged and everyone in your home knows when and how to properly use it. If you’re unsure of what type of extinguisher you require, speak to a professional or click here to read more.
- Prepare your family – Have an escape plan ready and practiced in case of fire. It’s also important that your small children aren’t afraid to take action when hearing the smoke alarm. When installing a new alarm or changing the batteries involve your children in the process and let them know what the alarm sounds like.
- Escape ladder for upper floors – It’s recommended to have an escape ladder in each bedroom that is located on an upper floor. Be sure your entire family is confident in its use and has practiced how to safely use it.
- Fireplaces – Have your chimney inspected and cleaned regularly. Use a screen in front of the fireplace to stop sparks from reaching flammable material and keep anything flammable at least 3 feet away.
- Dryer vents – Clogged and improperly installed dryer vents can be a cause for household fires. Inspect and clean your vents once a year. Don’t leave your dryer running while sleeping or when you leave your home.
- Portable heating devices – Ensure that any portable heating devices are used according to the manufacturer’s specifications and 3 feet away from any flammable material.
It only takes a little extra effort to help ensure that your home and family is prepared in the event of a fire. It’s better to be prepared for the worse than live with the potential consequences.
The first sign of spring in Windsor and Essex is moving the clocks ahead one hour! (The second sign of spring is when the Dairy Freez opens!)
Here are two important habits to create every time you move your clocks for Daylight’s Savings Time:
- Change the batters in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
- Review your fire safety plan with your family.
This is the perfect time for parents to educate their children about fire safety, review their fire safety plan and teach children to not be afraid of the alarm’s sound and what to do if they hear it.
Here are some tips to help educate your children:
- Have your children ‘help’ you change the batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
- Explain to your children why it’s important that these batteries are changed regularly.
- Prepare your child for a very loud noise and have them press the tester button, so they are aware of the sound.
- Have a conversation with your children about what they should do if they hear the fire alarm. (If you don’t have a fire safety plan for your home, now is the time to create one!)
- Demonstrate to your children what they should do if they hear the fire alarm.
- Re-evaluate and review your family’s fire safety plan by calmly and discussing it with your children.
At Gibb Insurance we believe:
The better you prepare for a disaster, the less likely it will happen.
As the 12 Days of Holiday Fire Safety kicks off in Canada, it’s important to note that annually in Canada they are 20,000 house fires which result in 300 avoidable deaths and more than $500 million in property damage.
The three main causes of house fires are:
- Carelessness and accidents (ex: lack of attention when cooking)
- Electrical equipment (ex: overloaded systems and fuses)
- Smoking or fire starting related material (ex: children playing with lighters)
Please review and share the 12 Days of Fire Safety brought to you by safeathome.ca and Kidde Canada. For a downloadable PDF, please click here.
- Water fresh trees daily. Keep the base of the trunk in water at all times. Keep your tree away from any ignition source such as the fireplace, heaters or candles.
- Check all lights before decorating. Before you put up lights check the cords closely. Discard any sets that are frayed or damaged. Never plug more than 3 strings of lights together. Never connect LED to conventional lights. This is likely to wear out LED bulbs more rapidly and could pose a fire or electrical hazard.
- Make sure smoke alarms work and replace any over 10 years old. It’s the law to have working smoke alarms on every storey of your home and outside all sleeping areas. Test alarms monthly and replace batteries once per year, or, choose “Worry Free” models with 10-year sealed batteries that never need to be changed. Check the age of your smoke alarms – replace every 10 years.
- It’s now law in Ontario to protect your family with carbon monoxide alarms. If your home has an attached garage, wood or gas fireplace, or other fuel-burning device you must have a working CO alarm outside every sleeping area. For optimal protection, install one on every storey. Like smoke alarms, CO alarms wear out. Check the age of your CO alarms – replace any manufactured before 2009.
- Make sure everyone knows how to get out safely. Develop and practise a home fire escape plan with everyone in your family as well as your guests over the holidays. Once outside, stay outside and call 911 from a cell phone or neighbour’s house. Determine who will be responsible for helping anyone who may need assistance.
- Use extension cords wisely. Avoid overloading circuits with plugs and extension cords, as this can create overheating that could result in fire. Never put cords under rugs.
- Give space heaters space. Keep them at least one metre (3 feet) away from anything that can burn such as curtains, upholstery, or holiday decorations.
- Go flameless. Avoid using real candles, opting instead for safer flameless candles. If you use real candles remember to blow them out before leaving the room or going to bed. Keep lit candles safely away from children and pets and anything that can burn.
- Keep matches and lighters out of the sight and reach of children. Matches and lighters can be deadly in the hands of children. If you smoke, have only one lighter or book of matches and keep it with you at all times.
- Watch what you heat. Always stay in the kitchen and pay attention to your cooking – especially if using oil or high temperatures . If a pot catches fire, carefully slide a tight-fitting lid over the pot to smother the flames and then turn off the heat.
- Encourage smokers to smoke outside. Careless smoking is the leading cause of fatal fires. Encourage smokers to smoke outside and use large, deep ashtrays that can’t be knocked over. Make sure cigarette butts are properly extinguished.
- There’s more to responsible drinking than taking a cab home. With all the festive cheer this time of year, keep a close eye on anyone attempting to cook or smoke while under the influence of alcohol. Alcohol is often a common factor in many fatal fires.
Do you have any additional fire safety tips? Please share in the comments below.
Have a safe and enjoyable holiday season from your friends at Gibb Insurance Brokers.