Fires claim eight lives each week in Canada, and almost three-quarters of those deaths are a result of residential fires. According to Fire Prevention Canada, home fires occur most often in the winter season. There are many reasons for this – homes must be heated, most meals are cooked indoors and those who smoke tend to stay indoors.
Regardless of the season, here are some basic safety tips that can help minimize your risk of residential fires.
- Always remain in the kitchen when cooking, especially when using grease or when cooking food at high temperatures. If a grease fire starts cover the pan with a lid to smother the flames; use baking soda on shallow grease fires.
- Do not smoke in bed or in your bedroom. Ashtrays in the house should be kept on sturdy surfaces away from all combustible materials.
- When using candles, keep them on or in sturdy holders on a level surface, out of the reach of children and pets. Blow out candles when you leave the room or are going to bed.
- Store flammable liquids such a gasoline and paint away from any heat sources, and ideally in a cool, dry place outside the house.
- Never use a BBQ indoors; this includes the garage. A BBQ uses combustible fuel, which releases carbon monoxide. CO can be deadly if adequate ventilation is not available.
- Space heaters should not have anything combustible nearby and need at least one metre (three feet) of space around them. Inspect the electrical cord regularly.
- If you have a frozen pipe, keep the faucet open and apply heat to the frozen section using an electric hair dryer, or by wrapping pipes with towels soaked in hot water. Do not use any open-flame device, such as a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, or charcoal stove, to thaw the pipe.
- Flickering lights, blown fuses or a circuit breaker that keeps tripping are signs of electrical problems. Contact an electrician.
- Do not run an extension cord under furniture of under a rug. Traffic over the cord or the weight of furniture on it may damage the cord and create a fire hazard.
- Clean the dryer lint filter before and after each use to minimize the risk of a dryer fire.
More fire safety tips are available at www.canadasafetycouncil.org and www.fiprecan.ca.
ServiceMaster Restore has been helping homeowners cope with fire and smoke damage for more than 60 years. If ever your life is disrupted by fire or smoke damage, turn to ServiceMaster Restore for reliable smoke and fire damage restoration services you can trust.