The Clarence-Rockland Fire Department protects the lives, property and environment of the people who live, work and visit the City of Clarence-Rockland. Fire Department personnel are highly trained to respond to a wide variety of emergency and non-emergency incidents including fires, rescues and medical emergencies. They risk their lives so you don't have to risk yours.
The Fire Department is one branch of the Protective Services Department, and is also responsible for fire prevention and public education. The other branches of Protective Services includes Bylaw Enforcement, and Emergency Management.
Practice your home fire escape plan
Fire Chief Brian Wilson urges all residents in the City to check their smoke and CO alarms annually. During the annual smoke alarm inspection program, there is still an alarming percentage of homes without working smoke and/or CO alarms. These are the primary line of defence, so it is critical that they are checked regularly (monthly). Residents should also practice their home fire escape plan. There should be two ways out of every room, which may include the door, or a window. If on upper floors, consideration should be given to how to get down without injury. Every year, dozens of people die in fires across the province, a stark reminder that everyone in your household must know exactly what to do if a fire occurs.
While statistically most of the Fire Department’s calls happen during the day, it is the fires at night that carry the highest risk because people are often sleeping and disoriented. It is critical that people know what to do in the event of a fire. “The body won’t go where the mind has not been,” says Fire Chief Wilson, “that is why it is so important to practice home escape plans BEFORE a fire.”
Simple steps for home fire escape planning include:
- Install smoke alarms on every storey and outside sleeping areas. It’s the law. For best protection, also install smoke alarms in every bedroom. The best form of protection is interconnected hard-wired alarms equipped with a battery backup.
- Develop a home fire escape plan and discuss it with the entire family.
- Show everyone two ways out of each room, if possible.
- Check that all exits are unobstructed and easy to use.
- Determine who will be responsible for helping young children, older adults or anyone else that may need assistance.
- Choose a meeting place outside, such as a tree or a lamp post, where everyone can be accounted for.
- If caught in smoke, get low and go under the smoke to the nearest safe exit.
- Call the fire department from outside the home, from a cell phone or neighbor’s home.
- Once out, stay out. Never re-enter a burning building.
You may have only seconds to safely escape your home. Practice your home fire escape plan and make sure everyone can get out quickly.
Fire leaves nothing and no one untouched. If you think it is the kind of thing that only happens to others, you should be aware that every year, in Ontario, fire destroys the equivalent of a town of 18 000 habitants, and kills or injures dozens of people who pay a high price for their carelessness. The risk is very real, and fire prevention is first and foremost an individual responsibility. When it comes to fire, you are primarily responsible for your own safety and that of your family.
Kitchen appliances and smokers’ items cause almost all domestic fires.
If a Fire Breaks Out
If the fire is in its early stages when you detect it and you have an extinguisher at hand, discharge the extinguisher, aiming at the base of the flames. However, this will be of no use if the fire has had time to take hold.
Do not enter a house that has been damaged by fire. The structure may have been weakened, and you will be risking serious injury.
Tell the municipal authorities where you are, so that they can contact you and also inform you of any short-term disaster assistance measures that may be available. Notify your insurance company and keep the receipts from all purchases made and expenditures incurred to obtain temporary accommodation.
Stop cooking fires before they happen
When oil catches fire on the kitchen stove, people can get badly burned. Deep frying food is a common cause of fires at home.
In most cases, the oil or grease catches fire because it got too HOT, too FAST.
Do YOU know how to put out a cooking fire quickly and safely?
If you follow our safety tips you may never have to put out a cooking fire.
What to do if grease or oil catches fire
Smoke detectors save lives
The first line of defence
In the event of fire, properly installed and maintained smoke detectors can help save lives by giving early warning and allowing sufficient time for occupants to reach safety. All smoke detectors advertised and sold in Canada are regulated under the Hazardous Products Act, and required to meet performance requirements set out in standards developed by the Underwriters' Laboratories of Canada (ULC). It is the responsibility of manufacturers, importers and retailers of smoke detectors to ensure that their units comply with the requirements of the appropriate ULC standards.
The two types of smoke detectors
The ionization type of smoke detector is generally better suited for detecting fast, flaming fires, which consume combustible materials rapidly and spread quickly. Sources of fires may include paper burning in a wastebasket or a grease fire in the kitchen. These type of fires account for 70% of home fires.
The photoelectric type of smoke detector is generally better suited for detecting slow, smouldering fires, which may smoulder for hours before bursting into flame. Sources of these fires may include cigarettes burning in couches or bedding. This type of fires account for 30% of home fires.
General tips on smoke detectors
Make sure the smoke detectors in your home are in good operating condition. For a rapid response to any kind of fire, consumers may want to consider installing both types of smoke detectors, or one which incorporates both technologies, i.e. the ionization type and the photoelectric type.
If you have any questions regarding your particular model, contact the manufacturer or importer of your unit. Manufacturers usually maintain a toll-free number for customer inquiries.
Wood Stove / Fireplace Safety Tips
We all enjoy the coziness of a warm fire, but danger can be lurking if precautions are not taken:
All chimneys deteriorate through heavy use, neglect, and age. Some of the many problems include cracked or missing bricks, a blocked flue, missing mortar, a deteriorated crown, corroded flashing, corroded pre-fabricated chimneys, and creosote build-up.
Creosote forms when unburned waste products from wood adhere to the sides of the chimney. The worst danger is that creosote can ignite inside your chimney. A hot and quickly spreading chimney fire can cause damage to your entire house! A disaster such as this can be easily avoided by having your chimney checked annually.
Be sure to follow the manufacturers' directions and the local building codes for proper installation, use, and maintenance of your wood-burning stove.
Always start your fire using paper and small pieces of kindling. Never use accelerants to start a fire. Things can get out of hand in a hurry!
Burn only well-seasoned wood. Green or unseasoned wood burns cooler than well-seasoned wood, and can cause creosote to build up at a much faster rate.
Be sure to clean the ashes out of your wood-burning stove on a regular basis. Store the ashes in a covered metal container. Hot coals in discarded ashes can easily ignite grass, leaves, and trees if left uncovered. Keep the ash container at a safe distance away from the house and any other nearby buildings.
Smoke Detectors and Fire Extinguishers
Change the batteries and test each smoke detector unit regularly. If for some reason you have disconnected a smoke detector, hook it back up. This precaution SAVES LIVES! Smoke detectors can be purchased at most hardware, home building, and a variety of retail stores. This is a very inexpensive way to protect you and your family.
Keep a fire extinguisher handy, and make sure that everyone in your household knows how to use it. Keep your fire extinguisher well maintained. If it does not work, it won't do you any good!
Summary of Tips
WOOD STOVE Burn it smart
Enjoy the fire, not the smoke
Things to Remember
A hot new stove
If your open fireplace or wood stove is past its prime, you might consider buying a new model with improved safety and efficiency features. The best choice is a high efficiency stove, fireplace or inserts certified low-emission by the EPA.
Go to the Professionals
Any new stove or fireplace should be professionally installed. Make sure your existing unit is inspected and cleaned at least once a year by a technician certified under the Wood Energy Technical Training (WETT) program, or in Quebec, the "Association des professionels du chauffage".
Pet and emergencies
PETS AND EMERGENCIES
Pets are part of our families. During an emergency situation, it is important to know how to keep our animal companions safe. Emergencies can happen at any time, so prepare today. Assemble a pet emergency kit and make arrangements for your pet in the event that you must evacuate.
Pet Emergency Kits
Prepare an emergency kit for your pet. Be sure you have:
Keep this kit in the same spot as your family emergency survival kit for easy retrieval. Pets need supplies, too.
Animals get anxious during emergencies. If possible, keep your pet in a carrying cage with a familiar blanket, so your pet(s) feels as secure as possible. Do not leave your pet alone, with strangers or without a leash at any time. During an emergency, your pet may panic, behave in a distressed manner or even run away and end up lost. Because of the distressed state, your pet may bite someone. REMEMBER… during an emergency, you are still responsible for your pet.
Pets and Evacuations
If safety permits, take your pet with you! Pets should not be left behind during an evacuation, as they may be injured, lost or even killed as a result of the emergency. Remember to take your pet emergency kit with you when you evacuate.
It is important to note that some evacuation centers may not accept pet, with the exception of service animals (e.g. guide-eye dogs). Please do research ahead of time to ensure that you are not separated from your animal:
Contact hotels and motels outside you immediate area and check their policy on accepting pets during an emergency.
Ask friends and relatives outside your immediate area if they could shelter your pets in an emergency.
Prepare a list of boarding facilities and veterinarians who could shelter animals in an emergency (include a 24 hour number).
Contact local animal shelters and ask if they provide shelter for pets in the event of an emergency. This should only be used as a last resort, as animal shelters have limited resources and will be very busy in an emergency.
Record this information on a sheet and keep it in your pet emergency kit. Review it regularly to ensure the information is accurate.
You may not be at home when an evacuation order is issued. In advance of an emergency, ask a trusted neighbor to evacuate your pet if need be and meet you in a prearranged location. This individual should have a key to your home, know where the pet emergency kit is located, be comfortable with your pet and, more importantly, know where your pet is likely to be.
In the days following an evacuation, do not let your pet go outside unattended. Familiar scents and landmarks may have changed and your pet may get easily confused or lost. If there has been damage to your property, be aware that there could be sharp materials, electrical wires or other hazards in and around your home. Inspect your property carefully before allowing your pet to enter.
Remember, the behavior of your pet may be different after an emergency. Monitor your pet and contact your veterinarian if you are concerned.