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Smoke alarms and escape routes
- Smoke alarms can increase your chances of surviving a fire up to 50%. Make sure you have at least one smoke alarm on every level of the home, including the basement. Ensure there is one installed close enough to your bedroom that you can hear it through a closed door.
- Be diligent about smoke alarm maintenance, and change smoke alarm batteries once per year. Replace each alarm unit after 10 years.
- Develop a home fire escape plan and get everyone in your household involved. When you draw up a floor plan, include all the important details: at least 2 exits from each room, stairways, and hallways and windows that can be used as fire escape routes, and a meeting spot outdoors.
Use this this tip sheet to help create your plan. When you’re done, run through it and have each member of your family test windows and doors to be sure everyone can open them easily.
Indoor fire safety
- Avoid dryer fires. Have your dyer installed by a professional, and If you are installing your own, follow the manufacturer’s instructions closely. When installing the dryer vent, determine the straightest direct venting path to the outdoors to reduce the risk of lint accumulation, the most common cause of dryer fires. Make it a habit to clean out the lint screen after each load of laundry.
- Stove fires can start and spread in seconds. Know what to do in the event of a cooking fire: if a pot or pan catches fire, put a (properly fitting) lid on to smother the flames. Cover a shallow grease fire with baking soda.
Don’t move a flaming pot or pan away from the stove, as it could fan the flames and spread the fire. Built-up grease can easily catch fire, so clean your pots and pants regularly.
- Avoid overloading electrical outlets. Only plug one heat-producing or high-wattage appliance into an electrical outlet at a time, and unplug it before cleaning. Be aware that pulling on the cord too roughly can wear it out and increase the risk of an electrical shock or a fire.
Don’t let electrical cords run underneath carpets, and always keep cords away from water and heat sources.
- If you do burn candles keep them 12 inches away from anything that might burn, and make sure they are in a sturdy holder on a flat surface and won’t tip over. Especially during events such as Halloween and Christmas, candles are used often in the household for various reasons. Make sure everyone in your family knows the rules around candles, or consider flameless candles for peace of mind .
Outdoor fire safety
- Outdoor grills and barbecues should be kept at least 3 metres away from windows and doors to prevent smoke from billowing inside the home. Also make sure the barbecue is kept well away from low hanging tree branches, wooden fences, walls and overhangs.
Be mindful that dust and debris may accumulate inside the barbecue over winter. Thoroughly inspect and clean before use, and be prepared to replace your propane cylinder every 10 years (find the date your cylinder was last qualified on its collar).
- Sparks from lawnmowers and power equipment can start wildfires in the yard. Be careful when using both on hot or dry days, and get your equipment checked regularly. This is especially important to be aware of in fall, when dry leaves litter a yard.
Whether you are a homeowner or a renter, taking time to ensure everyone in your home is fire safety aware protects your space and your loved ones. Put these preventative measures into action this Fire Safety Week.
These tips are provided for information and prevention purposes only. They are general in nature, and Desjardins Insurance cannot be held liable for them. We recommend using caution and consulting an expert for comprehensive, tailored advice.
In Quebec, Desjardins Insurance refers to Desjardins General Insurance Inc. In Ontario and Alberta, Desjardins Insurance refers to Certas Direct Insurance Company, underwriter of automobile and property insurance.