Summer activities pose fire risks if you are not careful. This page has information to help you stay fire safe during these summer activities:

  • BBQing
  • going to the cottage
  • camping in RVs, campers and trailers
  • having a campfire
  • using fireworks
  • boating

BBQ Safety

Gas BBQs with propane tanks or direct natural gas connections cause numerous burn injuries and fires every year. Use these tips to make sure you are grilling safely.

At the start of the season

  1. CLEAN Use a pipe cleaner or wire to ensure burner ports are free of rust, dirt, spider webs or other debris.
  2. CHECK Examine the hose leading from the tank to the burners. Replace it if cracked or damaged.
  3. TEST Find leaks by applying a 50/50 solution of water and dish soap to propane cylinder connections and hoses. If bubbles appear, tighten the connection and/or replace the damaged parts and retest.

Before you grill

DO NOT place the BBQ close to anything that can burn including:

  • wooden fences;
  • wooden walls;
  • vinyl siding;
  • other flammable items

DO:

  • only use BBQs outdoors in a well ventilated space to avoid carbon monoxide build-up
  • remove grease build-up on the burners or at the base of the BBQ to avoid grease fires
  • confirm whether you can BBQ on an apartment or condo balcony

While you grill

  • never leave the BBQ unattended when in use
  • never throw water on a grease fire; it will make the fire grow and spread
  • keep loose clothing away from hot BBQs
  • keep children and pets at least one metre (three feet) away from the hot BBQ

After grilling

  1. When finished barbecuing, turn the gas valve off first, then turn off the burner controls so no gas is left in the connecting hose.
  2. Allow the BBQ to cool completely before closing the cover.

For more information and safety tips about propane barbecues, visit the Technical Standards and Safety Authority website: safetyinfo.ca.

Cottage Fire Safety

Cottage life is no different than home when it comes to fire prevention and safety. To minimize the risk of fire and burn injury, we recommend the following cottage fire safety tips:

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms

  • Install smoke alarms on every storey and outside all sleeping areas. It's the law for all Ontario homes, cottages, cabins and seasonal homes to have working smoke alarms on every storey and outside all sleeping areas.
  • Test smoke alarms at least monthly or each time you return to the cottage. Pack a new smoke alarm and extra smoke alarm batteries in case they need replacement.
  • Install and ensure carbon monoxide alarms in your cottage if it has a fuel-burning appliance.

Know how to get out and who to call

  • Develop and practice a home fire escape plan to ensure everyone knows what to do if the smoke alarm sounds.
  • Know the telephone number for the local fire department and your cottage's emergency sign number, in case of emergency.

When you arrive

Clean the BBQ before using it. Keep an eye on lit barbecues and ensure all combustibles, as well as children and pets are kept well away from them. Fires can happen when barbecues are left unattended. Keep barbecue lighters and matches out of sight and reach of children.

Check heating appliances and chimneys before using them. Don't forget to pack a flashlight with extra batteries!

Check with your local fire department, municipality, or Ministry of Natural Resources to determine whether open air burning is permitted before having a campfire or burning brush. If open burning is allowed, fires should be built on bare soil or on exposed rock. Remove leaves and twigs from around the fire to keep it from spreading. Always keep a bucket of water, sand, or even a shovel close by and supervise the fire at all times.

Only smoke outside and discard butts safely in a large can with water. If you drink, do so responsibly. Tobacco use and excessive alcohol consumption are contributing factors in many fires and can lead to serious injuries.

Burn candles in sturdy candle holders that will not tip and are covered with a glass shade. When you go out, blow out!

RVs, Trailers and Campers

Camping trips can be fire safe for everyone if taking precautions around propane and campfires, especially.

When transporting propane cylinders:

  • ensure propane cylinders are upright and secure
  • keep cylinder valves closed and protected
  • plug or cap cylinder outlets

When using cylinders:

  • keep them upright and secure on a firm footing
  • check the cylinder connections and hoses for leaks
  • keep them away from flame, heat, and exits

Using Propane in your RV or Camper

Propane or natural gas inside your RV or camper requires extra diligence to avoid fires and carbon monoxide poisoning. Make sure you have a carbon monoxide alarm and propane leak detector and only use the stove or oven for cooking; never as a source of heat.

Propane appliances require an adequate supply of fresh air for proper combustion. Ensure your RV or camper is properly ventilated to prevent build-up of carbon monoxide. Also check the outside of the exhaust vents to make sure they are not obstructed in any way.

Barbecue Safety

In addition to all of the BBQ safety rules that you follow at home, make sure that your BBQ is:

  • on firm, level footing
  • far from the side of your RV, camper, tent or other combustibles.

Campfire Safety

When cooking outdoors, campfire safety is of the utmost importance. Here are five simple campfire safety tips:

1. Look up and around

Make sure your fire pit is not under any low-hanging branches or near any brush or bushes. Keep a radius of 8 to 10 feet around the fire pit clear of tents, chairs, food and any other debris or obstructions.

2. Safety proof your pit

Clear all debris from around the fire pit, including garbage and grass. There should be a five-foot perimeter of soil around the campfire space.

If there is no metal ring, circle the pit with rocks. If your fire grows in size, this will help keep it within the borders of the fire pit.

Keep any flammable items far from the fire. This includes aerosol cans and pressurized containers.

3. Keep water nearby

Always keep water, dirt or a shovel nearby to help reduce the flames or put the fire out completely if it grows too large. Controlling the fire can be just as important as putting it out.

4. Always watch

Don't get distracted and walk away from the fire; make sure someone always has an eye on the campfire. It's especially important to keep an eye on pets and children that may be sitting or walking near the fire.

5. Extinguish before leaving

Always put the fire out when everyone is leaving the campfire. Throwing water or dirt on the fire is the best way to extinguish a campfire. Then, stir the embers around with a shovel to ensure another fire won't start. Ideally, the coals should be wet and cold.

Fireworks Fire Safety

If you plan on having a family or informal neighbourhood firework display, follow the requirements of the City of Clarence-Rockland Fireworks Bylaw.  Here are some important safety tips to follow.

Before the fireworks

  • appoint a responsible person to be in charge. Only adults who are aware of the hazards and essential safety precautions should handle and discharge fireworks;
  • carefully read and follow the label directions on fireworks packaging;
  • always keep a water hose or pail of water close by;
  • choose a spot to discharge the fireworks well away from combustible materials like buildings, trees and dry grass;
  • keep onlookers a safe distance away, upwind from the area where fireworks are discharged

During the fireworks

  • only light one firework at a time and only when they are on the ground. Never try to light a firework in your hand or re-light dud fireworks. For dud fireworks, it is best to wait 30 minutes and soak them in a bucket of water. dispose of them in a metal container;
  • discharge fireworks only if wind conditions do not create a safety hazard;
  • keep sparklers away from children. Sparklers burn extremely hot and can ignite clothing, cause blindness and result in severe burns. As the sparkler wire remains hot for some minutes after burnout, it should be immediately soaked in water to avoid injury.

If someone gets burned, run cool water over the wound for three to five minutes and seek medical attention, if necessary.

Marine Fire Safety

Marina fires are violent and devastating events and are difficult and dangerous fires to fight. Rapid extinguishment of marina fires is not likely and oftentimes firefighters can only hope to keep them from growing.

Prevention is the real opportunity to save lives and property and the best way is to educate boat owners so they can recognize marina safety hazards. A marina occupied by knowledgeable and caring occupants will be a safer marina. Of course, common fire prevention tips from home apply on the water, too.

Marina managers are best positioned to provide fire safety information to their tenants through a variety of methods, including classes, newsletters and mailings.

Boat owners must take responsibility for preventing fires on their boat and in the marina. The most common causes of boat fires are:

  • electrical malfunctions
  • unattended portable heaters
  • poor housekeeping

When docking at a marina

  • check around for fire protective measures such as fire extinguishers, cleanliness, clear dock passageways, security, good lighting, etc. If you don't feel safe, notify the marina staff;
  • use CSA or ULC marine approved cord sets and connections. Do not hook up if you see burn marks or your cord set will not firmly connect.
  • routinely replace cord sets. Worn or overloaded cord sets and damaged shore power connections are a common cause of fires.
  • keep the dock clean and clear. Don't leave engine parts, tools or other equipment on the dock;
  • never leave operating electrical equipment, including heaters, unattended. When leaving your boat for any reason, turn portable heaters off.

If you see a fire hazard or have concerns, share them with marina management.

Fireproof your vessel

  • regularly inspect electrical and fuel systems. Have a professional upgrade the wiring to maintain the needs of your navigational equipment and other appliances;
  • install and regularly test smoke alarms;
  • plan your escape. Having an escape plan can save your life in an emergency;
  • have an approved fire extinguisher on board and know how to use it. Fire extinguishers should be mounted near an exit so you are moving toward an exit as you access the extinguisher.
  • properly dispose of oily rags in a metal container with a tight fitting lid. Leaving oily rags wrapped up in a grocery bag is not safe. The chemicals will begin to break down the rags, causing heat and possibly a fire.

Fire Extinguishers

Coast Guard approved extinguishers required for boats are hand portable, either 5BC or 1OBC classification and have a specific marine type-mounting bracket.

A fire extinguisher you choose must be certified and labeled by the US/CON Coast Guard (for marine use) ULC or UL.

It is recommended the extinguishers be mounted in a readily accessible position, away from the areas where a fire could likely start, such as the galley or the engine compartment.

Visit our home fire equipment page for more information about fire extinguishers.

Lifejackets and Personal Flotation Devices (PFD)

Anytime anyone is boating, there's a chance of falling overboard. More than 90% of boating-related deaths are from drowning and 80% of those victims were not wearing a lifejacket or PFD.

Transport Canada requires a lifejacket or PFD for each person aboard a vessel operating on Canadian waters. Each should be in good condition, of an appropriate size, and readily accessible. For children 12 years old and under, “readily accessible” is defined as wearing it.

Choosing a lifejacket or PFD

Pick a life jacket or PFD that fits you and fits the type of boating you will be doing. Always check the labels to make sure it is Canadian approved and keep in mind that lifejackets offer a higher level of protection than PFDs.

Inflatable PFDs are not approved for:

  • Anyone under 16 years old
  • Anyone who weighs less than 36.3 kg (80 lbs)
  • Use on a personal watercraft

Caring for your lifejacket or PFD

For your device to work, it has to be kept in good condition. Follow these tips:

  • always air-dry your PFD thoroughly before stowing it
  • check it twice a year for mildew, leaks, insecure straps, or hardened stuffing

For information on marine-type fire extinguishers and personal flotation device requirements visit the Government of Canada Boating Safety website.

Contact Us

Clarence-Rockland Fire Department

fireprevention@clarence-rockland.com

613-446-6022