Keep Fire Safety In Mind As Temperatures Drop

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture

As Ontario endures chilling Arctic temperatures this week; the Ottawa Fire Services urges the public to keep fire safety in mind when taking steps to deal with colder winter weather.

In the winter months, Ontario homes traditionally see more fires related to heating equipment and appliances. People need to pay close attention to potential fire hazards related to the use of block heaters in their vehicles, fuel-burning appliances and space heaters.

Important fire safety tips for cold weather include the following:

* Burn dry, well-seasoned wood in fireplaces and woodstoves to reduce the risk of excessive creosote build-up in chimneys.

* Allow ashes from your woodstove or fireplace to cool before emptying them into a metal container with a tight-fitting lid. Keep the container outside.


* Keep intake and exhaust vents for furnaces and heating appliances free of ice and snow accumulation to reduce the risk of carbon monoxide build-up from inefficient combustion. Install carbon monoxide (CO) alarms to alert you to the presence of this deadly gas.

* Keep space heaters at least one metre (3 feet) away from anything that can burn, including curtains, upholstery and clothing.

* Block heater cords and connections should be in good repair and caution should be used to ensure circuits are not overloaded.

* Replace worn or damaged electrical wires and connections on vehicles and extension cords and use the proper gauge extension cord for vehicle block heaters.

* Consider using approved timers for vehicle block heaters rather than leaving heaters on all night.

* Ensure that vehicles are not left running inside any garage or building.

The Ontario Fire Code requires smoke alarms to be installed on every storey of all homes and outside all sleeping areas. Failure to comply with this law can result in a $235 ticket or a fine of up to $100,000.