The majority of fatal home fires happen at night when people are asleep. Contrary to popular belief, the smell of smoke may not wake a sleeping person. The poisonous gases and smoke produced by a fire can numb the senses quickly and put you into a deeper sleep. By sounding an alarm, and alerting you to fire in time to escape, an inexpensive household smoke detector can increase your chances of surviving a residential fire by 50%.
Where to install?
Because smoke rises, install smoke detectors high on a wall or ceilings. Wall mounted units should be installed 4 to 12 inches from the ceiling, and ceiling mounted units should be installed at least 4 inches from the nearest wall. In rooms with high, pitched ceilings, mount the detector at the highest point possible. Install in open stairways (no doors at either the top or bottom), at the bottom of closed stairways, outside and inside of bedrooms. Do not install smoke detectors near a window, door, or forced air register where drafts could interfere with the detectors operation.
Test your smoke detector monthly and change the batteries at least once a year. Many battery powered detectors will "chirp" or make some audible noise when the batteries are low. Resist the urge to use the smoke detector batteries for other uses! Make sure to check if your detector has an expiry date. Be sure to replace your smoke detector if the date has passed.
Where there is a fire...
Have an Escape Plan!
When a fire breaks out, there is no time for planning. Sit down with your family today to make a plan to escape. Here are guidelines to follow when making a escape plan:
Always know two ways out! Draw a diagram of your home, showing every door and window. Plan two ways out of every room, especially the bedrooms. Then walk through each escape route, looking for possible barriers or obstructions. Make sure everyone can open all locks, doors, and windows quickly, even in the dark.
In a two story house, you may have to escape from second floor. Make sure to have a safe way to the ground.
Get out, and stay out! Do not stop for posessions or pets. Just get out and call the fire department from a neighbors house. Do not go back in the house for any reason. If people are trapper, firefighters will have the best chance to rescue them
Have a meeting place. Choose a safe meeting place and make sure everyone knows where it is
Practice Your Plan
- At least twice a year, have a drill in your home. The majority of fatal fires occur when people are sleeping, so be sure to practice your plan starting from your bedroom
- Make your drill as realistic as possible and practice both escape routes. Pretend that certain exits are blocked by fire, that there are no lights, and that the hallways are filling with smoke.
- Remember, a fire drill is not a race. Get out quickly, but carefully!
- Practice checking and opening doors but feeling the door and door know with the back of your hand. If it feels hot, use your second escape route.
- If the the door feels cool, open the door slowly, but be prepared to close it quickly if smoke or fire rushes in
- Be sure to close every door you use. This can slow the spread of fire.
- Smoke contains deadly gases and is hot, so it will fill a room from the top down. If you encounter smoke in your primary escape route, use your second escape route. But if you must go through smoke, the best air will be serveral inches of the floor. Get on your hands and knees and crawl quickly to the exit.
- If you become trapped, close doors between you and the fire. To keep smoke out, stuff the cracks around doors and cover vents with blackets or towels. Stay by a window and signal for help with a flashlight or towel. If there is a phone in the room, call the fire department and tell them your exact location in the house.
3 minute drill is a great online fire prevention resource.
REMEMBER, EVERYONE MUST ACT QUICKLY. DO NOT DELAY YOUR ESCAPE! YOU WILL NOT GET A SECOND CHANCE!
GET OUT AND STAY OUT! - Never go back into a burning building
The ABC's of Portable Fire Extinguishers
A fire extinguisher is a storage container for an agent like water or chemicals. It is designed to put out a small fire, not a large one. Extinguishers are labelled ABC or D. Be sure you use the right extinguisher for the appropriate type of fire.
- A - Ordinary Combustibles are materials like paper, cloth, wood and upholstery
- B - Flammable and Combustible liquid fires originating from oil, gasoline, paint, solvents, and other flammable liquids
- C - Electrical Equipment include electrified sources such as fuse boxes, wires, electric motors
- D - Certain metals such as magnesium and sodium require a special dry powder class D extinguisher
Using A Fire Extinguisher
- Pull the pin
- Aim the nozzle at the base of the fire
- Squeeze the handle
- Sweep from side to side, discharging the contents at the base of the fire
Foam and water extinguishers require slightly different use. Be sure to read the instructions and understand how to use the extinguisher before you need it
What is Carbon Monoxide?
Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless, and toxic gas. Because you can not see, taste, or smell the toxic fumes, CO can kill you before you are aware it is in your home. At lower levels of exposure, CO causes symptoms that can easily be mistaken for the flu. The symptoms include headache, dizziness, disorientation, nausea and fatigue.
Where does Carbon Monoxide come from?
CO can come from several sources in your home. Such as gas appliances, BBQs, wood burning furnaces or fire places and vehicles
What Should I Do if My Carbon Monoxide Alarm Sounds?
If nobody feels ill:
- Silence the alarm
- Turn off gas appliances and sources of combusiton
- Ventilate the house by opening doors and windows
- Call a qualified professional to investigate the source of CO
If you feel ill:
- Evacuate all occupants immediately
- Determine how many people are ill
- Call 911 and relay information to the dispatcher, including the number of people ill and their symptoms
- Do not re-enter your home until it is deemed safe
- Call a qualified professional to repair the source of CO
Protect Yourself and Your Family from CO Poisoning
- Install at least one CSA approved Carbon Monoxide detector in your home near the bedrooms
- Never use a range or oven to heat your home
- Never use natural gas, propane, charcoal barbeque grills inside your home or garage
- Never keep your vehicle running in your garage, even with the doors open. Normal circulation will not provide enough fresh air to reliably prevent CO build up
- Check chimneys and vents for blockages
- Have a qualified professional inspect chimenys and vents yearly for blockages, cracks, holes or corrosion
Holiday Fire Safety
- Choose a tree with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched
- If you have an artificial tree, be sure its fire retardant
- Do not place trees near a heat source. (vents, fire places, etc.). The heat will dry out the tree causing it to be more easily ignited
- Make sure the tree is not blocking an exit
- Prior to placing the tree in water, cut at least a half an inch off of the bottom of the tree. Make sure to water the tree daily and ensure the water does not get below the bottom of the tree. If it the water gets below the bottom of the tree, cut another half an inch of the bottom, and refill the base with water
- Dispose of the tree when it begins dropping needles. Dried out trees are a fire hazard and should not be left in the home, garage, or left outside leaning against the home
- Inspect holiday lights each year for frayed wires, bare spots, gaps in the insulation, broken or cracked sockets, and excessive kinking or wear before putting them up.
- Do not link more than three light strands, unless the directions indicate it is safe. Make sure to periodically check the wires - they should not be warm to the touch
- Do not leave lights unattended\
- Make sure they are in safe, stable holders and are place where they will not be knocked over
- Never leave the house with the candle burning
- Never put lit candles on a tree
Kitchen fires due to cooking oil or grease igniting into flames cause the fastest-spreading and most destructive type of residential fire. When cooking with grease or oil, it is extremely important that you plan ahead so that you will know how to react fast to fire.
Always Keep a pan lid or cookie sheet handy. If the grease or oil catches fire, the lid should be slid over the top of the pan to smother the fire.
Never attempt to move a flaming pot or pan. The movement can fan the flames or cause you to spill the burning oil and spread the fire. The pan will also likely be very hot, which may cause you to drop it. Either way, you are placing yourself at great risk. Your immediate action should be to smother the fire by sliding a lid or flat cookie sheet over the pan. If its safe, turn off the heat and exhaust the fan, allowing the pan time to cool. Most importantly, react fast, because grease fires spread very quickly.
Never pour water on a burning oil pan fire. The effects will be catastrophic!
- Ensure your oven is clean. A grease fire can easily ignite in the high oven temperatures
- Follow the cooking instructions for the recipe you are using
- Always wear oven mitts when removing containers from an oven
- When using a broiler, ensure the rack is far enough away from the element to prevent a fire. Ensure that you have a pan beneath the broiler rack to catch any drippings. Never use aluminum foil as a drip catch, as it may spill over and catch fire
- Heating containers can become very hot. Be sure to wear oven mitts when removing hot items.
- Heating liquids can be very dangerous. Liquids could be at boiling tempuratures and not be bubbling
- Many microwaves are mounted above stoves or at a higher levels in the kitchen. Be careful not to spill hot food or liquids when removing them from the high mounted microwaves
- Do not use foil or other metal objects in the microwave
- If a fire occurs, keep the door closed and unplug the unit
- The pot can easily tip over, spilling the hot oil
- If the cooking pot is overfilled with oil, the oil may spill out of the unit when the turkey is placed into the cooking pot. Oil may hit the burner or flames, causing a fire to engulf the entire unit.
- Partially frozen turkeys placed into the fryer can cause a spillover effect. This too may result in an extensive fire.
- With no thermostat controls, the units also have the potential to overheat the oil to the point of combustion.
- The lid and handles on the sides of the cooking pot get dangerously hot, posing severe burn hazards.
If you absolutely must use a turkey fryer, please use the following tips.
- Turkey fryers should always be used outdoors a safe distance from buildings and any other flammable materials.
- Never use turkey fryers in a garage or on a wooden deck.
- Make sure the fryers are used on a flat surface to reduce accidental tipping.
- Never leave the fryer unattended. Most units do not have thermostat controls. If you do not watch the fryer carefully, the oil will continue to heat until it catches fire.
- Never let children or pets near the fryer even if it is not in use. The oil inside the cooking pot can remain dangerously hot hours after use.
- To avoid oil spillover, do not overfill the fryer.
- Use well-insulated potholders or oven mitts when touching pot or lid handles. If possible, wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from oil splatter.
- Make sure the turkey is completely thawed and be careful with marinades. Oil and water do not mix, and water causes oil to spill over causing a fire or even an explosion hazard.
- Keep an all-purpose fire extinguisher nearby. Never use water to extinguish a grease fire. If the fire is manageable, use your all-purpose fire extinguisher. If the fire increases, immediately call the fire department for help.
Turkey fryer information and video is courtesy of UL.com