There are many fire hazards in the home. Keep your family safe from fire-related injuries with these safety tips for different areas in your house:

  • fire safety in the kitchen
  • dryer fire safety
  • electrical fire safety
  • fire risks from smoking, candles, and other open flames

Kitchen and cooking fire safety

Unattended cooking is the number one cause of home fires in Ontario. Follow these fire prevention and safety rules for the kitchen:

  • be alert: don't cook if you are sleepy, have consumed alcohol, drugs or medicine that makes you drowsy;
  • always stay in the kitchen while cooking. If you must leave, turn off the stove;
  • keep anything that burns away from the stove, e.g. oven mitts, cooking utensils, dish cloths, paper towels, pot holders, etc.;
  • keep a proper-fitting pot lid near the stove when cooking. If a pot catches fire slide the lid over the pot and turn off the stove. Do not move the pot until it has cooled completely;
  • do not wear loose-fitting clothes when cooking because they can catch fire on the stove burners. Wear short sleeves, tight sleeves or roll them up when cooking.

Grease fires

Cooking with grease can be dangerous because the grease can easily catch fire if it gets too hot. Grease fires spread quickly and must be handled differently than normal fires.

  • never turn on the overhead fan, as this could spread the fire
  • never throw water on a grease fire

Here's what to do if grease in a pot or pan catches fire:

  1. Smother the flames by covering the pan with a lid. Do not remove the lid until the pan is completely cooled.
  2. Turn off the heat immediately.
  3. Use baking soda (flour can be explosive) on shallow grease fires.

Dryer Fire Safety

Dryers create a lot of heat and can easily set fire to lint that collects in the trap, ducts, and vents. Follow these rules to prevent fires in the laundry room:

When installing

  • have your dryer installed and serviced by a qualified technician; or
  • follow the manufacturer's instructions before installing the dryer vent if you are doing the job yourself

Always

  • follow the manufacturer's instructions regarding the safe use of the dryer
  • inspect and clean the lint screen after each load of laundry
  • remove lint from ducts and exhaust vents regularly
  • inspect the outdoor vent regularly to make sure it is not blocked
  • turn the dryer off if you leave home or when you go to bed
  • keep the area around the dryer clear of items that can burn

Electrical Fire Safety

Unsafe use of electricity can be very dangerous and an electrical fire can happen at any time. Some of the warning signs that you might have an electrical fire hazard in your home include:

  • recurring blown fuses or circuit breakers point to a fault in your home's electrical system
  • a burning smell or rubbery odor from an appliance
  • discoloration of wall outlets
  • flickering lights

Follow these safety rules to prevent electrical fires in your home:

Fuses and circuit breakers

  • follow-up when a fuse or circuit breaker blows: don't just reset the breaker or replace the fuse, find out what caused the problem
  • do not replace a fuse with one that has a rating higher than required
  • do not plug more than two operating appliances into the same circuit

Appliances and equipment

  • purchase appliances that are approved by the Canadian Standards Association or ULC: appliances without CSA/ULC approval could be unsafe
  • keep heat generating appliances at least 1 m away from anything that can burn
  • unplug small appliances like toasters and coffeemakers when you're not using them
  • be aware that heat generating appliances draw more power than others
  • make sure there is lots of ventilation around electronic components that generate heat, such as TV's and audio equipment
  • do not use an electrical device or appliance that has been exposed to water until you have had it checked thoroughly

Lighting

  • put lamps on level surfaces, away from curtains or other flammable items
  • use only weatherproof lights and other electrical fixtures outdoors
  • never use light bulbs that are higher than a lamp's maximum wattage

Outlets and extension cords

Overloading an outlet is dangerous. Prevent the dreaded "Octopus Outlet” i.e. don't plug several electrical cords into the same outlet.

Other safety tips to keep in mind include:

  • avoid plugging more than one appliance into an outlet
  • don't overload circuits with too many heat generating appliances such as toasters and electric frying pans; they easily overheat the circuit and can catch fire
  • do not use damaged outlets or anything with a cracked or frayed cord; have them fixed or replaced immediately
  • never run extension cords under carpets or mats.
  • do not crimp the electrical cords.
  • do not clip off the round grounding prong from an electrical plug to make it fit into an outlet

Smoking, candles and other open flames

Smoking

To prevent smoking fires, you must be alert: don't smoke if you are sleepy, have consumed alcohol, drugs or medicine that makes you drowsy. Whenever possible, encourage smokers to smoke outside and give them a safe place to dispose of their butts:

  • fill a metal container with non-combustible material like sand, pebbles, or water
  • ask guests not to throw ashes into flower beds or pots

You can prevent house fires caused by smoking if you remember to:

  • never smoke in bed
  • check behind chair and sofa cushions for cigarette butts before going to bed if others have been smoking in your home
  • use large deep ashtrays that cannot be knocked over
  • empty out ashes into a metal container—not the garbage can—and put it outside
  • never extinguish cigarettes in plant pots: may contain a mixture of peat moss, shredded wood and bark that can easily ignite

Candles and open flames

House fires are commonly started by candles that have been forgotten or are not being watched. Prevent fires caused by candles and open flames in your home with these tips:

  • never leave a burning candle unattended including candles on tables, alters and shrines
  • place candles in sturdy, safe containers that will not burn or tip over
  • keep candles and open flames at least 30 cm (12 in) from anything that can burn
  • keep children and pets away from open flames e.g. candles, matches, lighters, BBQ starters, etc.
  • don't use candles in bedrooms
  • consider using battery-operated flameless candles: they can look, smell and feel like real candles
  • blow out all candles when you leave a room or go to bed

Contact Us

Clarence-Rockland Fire Department

fireprevention@clarence-rockland.com

613-446-6022