17 Apr Home Fire Safety in Winter
The Calgary Fire Department is a busy emergency service, responding to approximately 57,000 incidents per year. Part of our business is also to educate citizens to try and prevent emergencies such as fires from happening in the first place. One of the most common types of fires CFD responds to is cooking fires. Often, it is due to cooking left unattended. Sometimes it is a result of cooking with oil which catches fire once it reaches its ignition temperature. Other common causes of indoor fires are electrical issues, candles left unattended, clothes dryers and chimneys. The most common cause of outdoor fires regardless of the season is the improper disposal of smoking materials. Other causes are BBQs and non-compliant fire pits.
As firefighters, our first message is always to try and prevent these fires from happening, however, the next line of defense is to make sure that you have working smoke alarms in your home which are located on every level. In every bedroom would also be ideal. Smoke alarms (both battery and hard wired) have a 10-year lifespan and should be replaced when they reach the 10-year mark. Maintenance of alarms includes testing your alarms every month by pushing the test button. Batteries should be changed annually, even on hard wired alarms that have a battery back-up.
Don’t forget about carbon monoxide (CO) alarms. Carbon monoxide is colourless, odourless, tasteless and non-irritating so you will not know it is there. It can come from any gas burning appliance in your home. Other sources of CO are improper ventilation for wood burning fireplaces and running your car in an attached garage.
Here are the recommendations for all the safety risks above:
- Stay in the kitchen when cooking with the stovetop
- Never leave candles unattended
- Keep matches and lighters up and out of reach of children
- Always have a sturdy non-combustible container for smoking materials
- Never put cigarettes in planter pots, flower beds, soil or mulch
- Keep BBQs a safe distance away from combustibles, decking and siding
- Comply with the fire pit bylaw http://www.calgary.ca/CSPS/Fire/Pages/Safety-tips/Safety-tips-home/Fire-pits.aspx
- Test and maintain smoke and carbon monoxide alarms
- Plan and practice a home escape plan with all members of the family including pets
- Visit calgary.ca/fire for more fire safety and prevention information
On behalf of the Calgary Fire Department, have a safe and happy winter season!