Did you know that many fires are caused by carelessness and negligence? Here are a few simple steps you can take to better protect your family by reducing the risk of fire in your home. If you follow them, you may never have to face the human and material consequences of a fire, which include an increase in your home insurance premiums.
1. Take precautions
- Keep a portable ABC-rated fire extinguisher within reach, especially close to the stove and hazardous domestic products. Check periodically that it is in good working order.
- Do appropriate home maintenance in the spring and the fall.
- Install smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors to increase your chances of safely evacuating your home in the event of a fire.
- Make sure you have detectors installed near the bedrooms.
- Change the batteries and check that they are in good working order twice a year. Make a habit of doing this at the change to and from Daylight Savings Time in the spring and fall.
- Replace the detectors every 10 years.
2. Washing and drying your clothes safely
- Avoid washing or drying articles that are stained or soaked in a flammable substance such as vegetable oil, wax, paint, solvent, gas, etc. in household appliances. Throw these items out or have a specialized company clean them. If you must do it yourself, take the following precautions:
- First hang them up outside to allow the substance to evaporate.
- Wash them with hot water.
- Hang them on a clothes line or dry them on the cold setting if your dryer has this option.
- Pile the freshly dried and folded items in a cool place.
- Never dry rubber or stuffed items (e.g. pillows) in an electric dryer.
- Never leave the dryer running when you go out.
- Clean the lint filter every time you use the dryer.
- Keep up the dryer’s exhaust vent maintenance:
- Every six months, inspect and clean it with a vacuum cleaner.
- Check periodically that hot air is being directed outside. In winter, check that the cover flaps for the exhaust vent are not obstructed by ice or snow.
- Monitor how long it takes to dry your clothes. If it takes longer than normal or your clothes are hotter than usual at the end of the dry cycle, immediately check if the exhaust vent is blocked with lint.
- Baseboard heaters are not clothes lines! Never dry clothes, shoes, boots or rags on heaters.
3. Cook with safety in mind
- Always keep an eye on the food you’re cooking and turn off cooking appliances if you need to go away.
- Choose a heating coil that is smaller than your pot or pan.
- Don’t overfill your pots and pans to avoid food spills.
- Always have a pot lid nearby that is the same size or bigger than the cookware being used so that you can smother any fires that may be ignited.
- Only fry foods in electric fryers with a thermostat for maintaining a constant temperature.
- Regularly clean the oven and stove to avoid flammable residues from accumulating.
- Clean the range hood filter at least twice a year. It will be more effective and, of course, safer since grease is a flammable substance!
- Keep safety in mind when you fire up the barbecue.
- Follow other safety advice for cooking food from Sécurité publique Québec (in French only).
4. Know which domestic products are hazardous and store them appropriately
Do you think your home doesn’t contain hazardous domestic products? Think again! Paint, solvent, nail polish, rubbing alcohol, hairspray, lighter fluid and fondue pot fuel are just a few examples of hazardous products.
- Find out about products that you need to handle carefully and the safety rules that apply to them (in French only).
- In all cases, be sure to store them far from sources of heat.
- Always store gas and propane tanks outside.
5. Check the safety of your electric appliances (in French only). Be sure not to overload extensions and multiple sockets.
6. If you like lighting candles, take the proper precautions (in French only).
7. If you have a fireplace or wood stove, dispose of ashes safely and have the chimney cleaned by a specialist every fall.
8. During the Christmas holidays, make sure your tree and lights are safely installed.