Severity of Burns:
• First Degree burns are mild and usually heal quickly. These are burns that redden the
skin and cause some soreness but they don’t result in any serious damage.
• Second Degree burns are far more serious. They cause severe pain and result in
blistered skin. They require immediate first aid and then medical attention.
• Third Degree burns are severe and require emergency medical attention. Tissue is
white, brown or charred and often surrounded by blisters. There is little or no pain at
first, but recovery can be extremely painful.
Kitchen Burn Hazards:
-Turn pot handles in. It is too easy to bump into a handle that juts out from the stove and the hot contents could spill on you. Curious children will also try to grab a pot handle to see what is inside the pot.
-Keep children and pets at least a metre (3 feet) from the stove when cooking.
-To reduce the risk of your clothes catching fire, wear garments with tight fitting sleeves, or roll your sleeves up when cooking.
-Oil and water truly do not mix. Do not throw wet or frozen food into hot grease or oil. This will cause the liquid to splatter which can cause severe burns.
-Put a lid on it! If the contents of a pan or pot catches fire, use an appropriate lid to smother the flames. Never carry a blazing pan to the sink. The contents could spill and spread the fire around. Be aware that a portable fire extinguisher can also splatter flaming liquids, if used improperly.
-Be very careful when removing lids from hot food. Steam burns more quickly than boiling water.
Don’t Land In Hot Water:
Adjust the thermostat on your hot water heater to medium or below 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit). When running a bath, put the cold water in first, then add hot water.
Keep Kids Safe:
-Teach children that appliances which create heat are unsafe for them to touch. That goes for kettles, toasters, irons, coffee makers, space heaters, light bulbs, radiators and more.
-Never leave matches and lighters out and available to children. They are almost certain to try to see how they work. It is best to hide matches and lighters away and lock them up when they’re not being used.
-Install safety covers on unused electrical outlets. This will prevent small children from sticking something made out of metal into them.
-In the event of fire, get children and everyone else in the house outside immediately…and keep them out.
-Cool a burn with cool water. This prevents the burn from spreading and provides relief for the pain. Run the water for 10 to 15 minutes over the burned area. Never use ice as it can cause further damage to the burned tissue. Third degree burns can be cooled using wet sterile dressings.
-Do not use anything greasy to treat a burn. It has been proven that butter or ointment keeps heat in, worsening the burn.
-Don’t break blisters. If germs get into the wound, infection can set in.
-Cover the burn after cooling it down. Apply a clean, dry dressing to the injury.
-Remove any burned clothing that isn’t stuck to the victim’s skin. Remove jewelry or tight
clothing from the vicinity of the wound before swelling sets in.
-Keep the victim’s body temperature stable to prevent shock. Use a dry blanket to cover unburned areas.
More And More Candles:
The use of candles is rapidly gaining popularity. Candle fires are also on the rise. In Ontario, they are the fifth leading cause of preventable fires. And while other causes of fires, such as cooking or heating are declining, the number of candle fires is on the rise. London firefighters are responding to an increasing number of blazes caused as a result of candles that are either unsafe or unattended.
Lower The Risk:
Candle fires generally don’t happen when people use them to accompany a meal. That’s because they are usually attended during mealtime. Candle fires do happen in places like bedrooms and bathrooms where people use them as mood enhancers. Unfortunately, people can fall asleep with a candle still burning or leave the room without snuffing out the flame. Candles should NEVER be left burning unattended! Candle use in bedrooms is discouraged. Almost half of all candle fires start in the bedroom. If you must use candles in your bedroom, make sure they are not close to flammable articles such
as bedding, curtains, blinds, piles of clothing, magazines and books or upholstered furniture. A good rule of thumb to follow is to keep candles at least a meter from anything that can burn. Avoid putting candles anywhere near windows. Curtains might be blown into a candle flame. And a breeze can fan the flames if a fire should occur.
How To Use Candles Safely:
Check to make sure that your candle holders are appropriate.
o They should be sturdy.
o They shouldn’t be tipped over easily.
o They must be made of a material that doesn’t burn.
o They should be big enough to catch any dripping wax.
o Your candle holders should not be placed amid clutter or near the edge of furniture
where children might knock them over.
o Candle wicks should be clipped to a quarter inch before they are lit.
If The Power Goes Out:
Many people keep candles on hand for power outages. Flashlights and battery powered lamps are a better idea. Never carry lit candles. It’s too easy to drop them.
Home For The Holidays:
December and early January is the most likely time for candle fires to start. That’s because people associate candles with the holiday season. Fires can start when candles are placed too close to presents, decorations and Christmas trees.
Carbon Monoxide Q & A
Important note: If your carbon monoxide detector sounds or you believe you’re suffering symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning (see below), exit the building or vehicle and call the fire department using 911!
What is the source of carbon monoxide?
CO is produced by the incomplete combustion of fuels such as natural gas, propane,
heating oil, kerosene, coal, charcoal, gasoline and wood. This problem can occur in any
device which depends on burning for heat or energy. For example, furnaces, boilers,
room heaters, hot water heaters, stoves, grills and any internal combustion engine are
included in this list of devices. (See illustration at the bottom of this page).
What makes carbon monoxide so dangerous?
Carbon monoxide is an odourless, colourless gas which is extremely toxic. When carbon
monoxide is inhaled, it produces an effect known as chemical asphyxiation. Injury is due
to the combining of CO with hemoglobin in the blood, lowering the blood’s oxygen carrying capacity. Even at very low parts per million levels, the body is quickly affected
by oxygen starvation. Exposure during sleep is particularly dangerous because the victim usually does not awaken.
Why is CO a larger problem now?
CO has been with us for many years. Many years ago our homes were built in a manner
that allowed air leakage, therefore air exchange occurred within the home on a regular
basis. Today’s homes are super-insulated, sealed and wrapped in plastic. This “sealing”
of the home creates an environment that not only captures and holds pollutants but
often results in a “negative indoor pressure” that can and does draw toxic fumes back
into the home.
How much of a problem is carbon monoxide poisoning?
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (C.P.S.C), has stated that CO is the largest
cause of accidental poisoning in the American Home. At least 250 people die in the US
each year from CO poisoning and many more are hospitalized. However, the Mayo Clinic
published a report in 1984 that indicated much higher numbers. That report suggests
that more than 1,500 people die from accidental CO poisoning annually and that 10,000
or more receive hospital or medical treatment. It goes on to say the numbers are likely
much higher because reporting and recording procedures for CO incidents are not
Why should I be concerned about carbon monoxide gas?
Carbon monoxide or CO is a poisonous gas which is especially dangerous due to its
physical characteristics and effect on the body. It is often referred to as the “Silent
Killer”. There are many potential sources and combinations of conditions that may
produce carbon monoxide. In any enclosed space (home, recreational vehicle, boat,
etc.), even a small accumulation of CO can be dangerous.
What are the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning?
Carbon monoxide poisoning can strike quickly or build up over time. The initial symptoms of CO poisoning are similar to flu symptoms; headache, nausea, and fatigue. With increased exposure time or CO concentration, the symptoms become more severe, taking the form of drowsiness and confusion. Continued exposure can lead to brain
damage and death.
What are some common sources of carbon monoxide in a residence?
The most common causes of CO accumulation in homes include; a blocked or poorly
ventilated fireplace chimney or furnace flue, faulty or damaged heating equipment
(especially cracked furnace heat exchanges), malfunctioning space heater,
automobile or lawn mower exhaust in garages with poor ventilation.
Is natural gas more likely to be a source of dangerous carbon monoxide than other
When properly installed and maintained, your natural gas furnace and hot water heater
do not emit carbon monoxide. Natural gas is known as a “clean burning” fuel, because
under correct operating conditions the combustion byproducts are water vapour and
carbon dioxide, which are not toxic. The exhaust from furnaces and water heaters is
vented outside through a flue duct or chimney.
Where should the carbon monoxide detector be placed in the home?
Detectors should be placed in close proximity to bedrooms. They may also be placed in
the furnace room or other areas of the residence where carbon monoxide might
What CO levels will harm me?
It can vary, depending on length of exposure and the individual’s health. Most people
will not experience symptoms with levels of 1 to 70 parts per million (PPM). People
with a heart condition might experience chest pains though. When CO levels remain
above 70 PPM, symptoms may become noticeable. When levels top 150 PPM to 200
PPM, the CO can cause disorientation, unconsciousness and even death, if the
victim is not given fresh air.
Electrical Fire Safety
Ticking Time bomb!
An electrical fire can happen at any time! Each year in Petrolia, a significant proportion of fire emergencies stem from electrical faults.
Electrical Do’s & Don’ts:
• Replace a fuse with one that has a rating higher than required.
• Use appliances or lamps with cracked or frayed cords.
• Run extension cords under carpets or mats. Do not crimp the cord.
• Overload an outlet. Prevent the dreaded “Octopus Outlet”. Be aware that heat generating appliances draw more power than others.
• Put heat generating appliances closer than 1 metre to anything that can burn.
• Use light bulbs that exceed a lamp’s maximum wattage.
• Clip off the round grounding prong from an electrical plug.
• Use an electrical device or appliance after liquid has been spilled on it, before having it
• Follow-up when a fuse or circuit breaker blows. Don’t just reset the breaker or replace
the fuse. Find out what caused the problem.
• Purchase appliances that are approved by the Canadian Standards Association.
Appliances without C.S.A approval could be unsafe.
• Put lamps on level surfaces, away from curtains or other flammable items.
• Allow adequate ventilation around electronic components that generate heat, such as
TV’s and audio equipment.
• Unplug small appliances like toasters and coffeemakers when you’re not using them.
• Use only weatherproof lights and other electrical fixtures outdoors.
• Recurring blown fuses or circuit breakers point to a fault in your home’s electrical system.
• A burning smell or rubbery odour from an appliance.
• Discolouration of wall outlets.
• Flickering lights.
Exit Drills In The Home (E.D.I.T.D)
Plan Your Escape!
When a fire occurs, there is no time for planning. Sit down with your family today and make a step-by-step plan for escaping from a fire. Draw a floor plan of your home, marking two ways out of every room – especially sleeping areas. Discuss the escape routes with every member of your household. Agree on a meeting place outside your home where every member of the household will gather to wait for the fire department. This allows you to count heads and inform the fire department if anyone is trapped inside the burning building. Practice your escape plan at least twice a year. Have a fire drill in your home. Appoint someone to be a monitor and have everyone participate. A fire drill is not a race. Get out quickly, but carefully. Make your exit drill realistic. Pretend that some exits are blocked by fire and practice alternative escape routes. Pretend that the lights are out and that some escape routes are filling with smoke.
Make sure everyone in the household can unlock all doors and windows quickly, even in the dark. Windows or doors with security bars need to be equipped with quick-release devices and everyone in the household should know how to use them.
If you live in an apartment building, use stairways to escape. Never use an elevator during a fire. It may stop between floors or take you to a floor where the fire is burning.
If you live in a two story house, and you must escape from a second story window, be sure there is a safe way to reach the ground. Make special arrangements for children, older adults and people with disabilities. People who have difficulty moving should have a phone in their sleeping area and, if possible, should sleep on the ground floor.
Test doors before opening them. While kneeling or crouching at the door, reach up as high as you can and touch the door, the knob and the space between the door and its frame with the back of your hand. If the door is hot, use another escape route. If the door is cool, open it with caution.
If you are trapped, close all doors between you and the fire. Stuff the cracks around the doors with towels or blankets to keep out smoke. Wait at a window and signal for help with a light coloured cloth or a flashlight. If there is a phone in the room, call 911 and tell the operator exactly where you are.
Get Out Fast…
In case of fire, do not stop for anything. Do not try to rescue possessions or pets. Go
directly to your meeting place and then call the fire department from a neighbour’s phone. Every member of your household should know how to call the fire department.
Crawl low under smoke. Smoke contains deadly gases and heat rises. During a fire, cleaner air will be near the floor. If you encounter smoke when using your primary exit, use your alternate escape plan. If you must exit through smoke, crawl on your hands and knees keeping your head 12 to 24 inches (30 to 60 cm) above the floor.
…And Stay Out
Once you are out of your home, do not go back for any reason. If people are trapped,
firefighters have the best chance of rescuing them. The heat and smoke of a fire are
overpowering. Firefighters have the training, experience and protective equipment needed to enter burning buildings.
Play It Safe
More than half of all fatal home fires happen at night while people are asleep. Smoke alarms are set off when a fire starts, alerting people before they are trapped or overcome by smoke. With smoke alarms, your risk of dying in a home fire is cut nearly in half. Install smoke alarms outside every sleeping area and on every level of your home, including the basement. Test smoke alarms monthly. Change all smoke alarm batteries at least once a year. If your smoke alarm is more than 10 years old, replace it.
“Fighting Small Fires”
These devices can put out or contain small
fires, but only if you know how to use them. Before even considering using a portable extinguisher, make sure you have access to a clear exit. Also ensure that you are using the right extinguisher for the type of fire you are trying to put out. Look for these symbols on the label:
Type A – Ordinary Combustibles: These include common household items such as paper, wood and cloth.
Type B – Flammable Liquids: Gasoline, cooking oils or fats, oil based paint and kerosene are just some of these.
Type C – Electrical Equipment: Wall outlets, power cords, small and large appliances, wiring and fuse boxes fall under this
Never use a “Type A” extinguisher on flammable liquids.
This is likely to spread the fire and make it worse, or splash burning liquid onto you.
P.A.S.S. – How To Use An Extinguisher:
Here’s a simple way to remember the steps to take when using a portable extinguisher. Start by standing around 3 metres back from the fire. Then follow the acronym “P.A.S.S.”
Pull the pin. The pin is there as a safeguard and locks the handle. Pulling it out enables it for use.
Aim low. The hose or nozzle should be pointed at the base of the fire to best put it out.
Squeeze the lever above the handle. This will shoot the extinguishing substance from the hose or nozzle. Keep in mind that most small extinguishers will run out of their extinguishing agent in 10 to 25 seconds.
Sweep from side to side. As you move slowly toward the fire, keep the hose or nozzle aimed at the base of the fire. If the flames appear to be out, release the handle and watch closely. If the fire ignites again, repeat the process.
Keep In Mind…
Before you use an extinguisher to fight small fires, make sure everyone else has left the area and that firefighters have been called using 911. Always have an exit route at your back. Never let the fire get between you and the way out. Call the fire department to inspect the fire area, even if you are sure you have extinguished the fire. Once a month, inspect your extinguisher for damage and make sure it is properly charged (see manufacturer’s instructions for details). If you use an extinguisher, it must be recharged by a professional. If it is a disposable unit, throw it out.
Book A Fire Extinguisher Presentation
The Petrolia Fire Department will provide extinguisher instruction to your group or workforce. To find out more, contact our department.
Fire Safety for Micro & Small Businesses
A Message from the Fire Prevention Division
The Petrolia & North Enniskillen Fire Department knows how vital small and micro businesses are, including the “Homepreneur”. With this in mind, we offer the following Fire Code and safety checks to assist owners and staff to maintain a fire safe environment.
Wherever you are …
Guard against fire. Familiarize yourself with escape routes and exits. Plan ahead for your safety and the safety of those who may need your help, but leave the firefighting and rescue to the Fire Department. An hour of planning may save lives. Make fire drills and checks a regular habit.
When fire strikes … SHOUT!
Get out! … And stay out!!
Raise the alarm when you detect fire or smoke to warn the other occupants. Children and older people will need help. Once out, have someone call the fire department. CALL 9-1-1, giving the address and details clearly.
Never go back into a burning building for any reason whatsoever. Many lives are lost through the deadly effects of fumes, even from small fires. Never risk a life in an attempt to save personal possessions. Never waste time putting out anything beyond small fires.
Enforce smoking rules. If smoking is allowed, designate smoking areas, and be sure staff and clients are aware of the restrictions. Post “NO SMOKING” signs, and provide large, deep, non-tip ashtrays. Dispose of the contents often, wetting them before dumping into metal containers.
Replace cracked or frayed electrical cords. Never pinch electrical cords under furniture or run them under carpets across doorways, or any place where they will be stepped on.
Do not plug one extension cord into another or plug more than one extension cord into an outlet. Unplug any electrical equipment that overheats or gives off unusual orders and have it repaired. Have routine electrical inspections by a qualified electrician, and always use C.S.A/U.L.C approved products.
Heating, Ventilating & Air Conditioners
Have regular maintenance performed on these types of equipment to ensure they are working properly. This includes solid fuel burning appliances as well, such as wood stoves and fireplaces.
- Keep combustible materials from accumulating in quantities or locations that may constitute a fire hazard. Keep them clear from heat producing devices, even reading lamps, and keep halls, stairways, and especially exits, clear of clutter at all times.
- Store flammable liquids, such as gasoline outside your facility in well ventilated but secure areas. Always use approved safety containers, never glass. Always handle flammable liquids with care and follow instructions on containers.
- Use gasoline only as a motor fuel, never as a cleaning agent.
Install and Maintain Smoke Detectors
- Install smoke detectors on every level of your home or establishment and especially outside sleeping areas, but away from cooking areas.
- Test smoke detectors monthly.
- Install new batteries at least once a year or when your detector “chirps” to warn you that battery power is low. Be sure to clean your detectors regularly, following manufacturer’s instructions.
- Replace any smoke detector that is more than 10 years old.
Keep and maintain a multipurpose (ABC) fire extinguisher on a wall at eye level and near an exit. Train staff members to operate a portable fire extinguisher. Extinguishers can be purchased at hardware stores, department stores, and fire service equipment companies.
Keep emergency doors closed, but not locked from the inside. Never wedge them open. Keep exits clear and be sure that EXIT signs are visible at all times. For more detailed information on these fire safety tips, or to arrange a fire inspection and ask about other Fire Code requirements please contact our Department
Hazardous Materials in The Home
The term “hazardous materials” is most often associated with things like chemical dumps, trains and trucks hauling dangerous cargo and leaks of substances that force large scale evacuations. But think about what you are keeping in your cupboards, medicine cabinets, garages and basements and you’ll find your home is literally a warehouse full of hazardous materials. From hair spray to bleach to household cleansers, it is essential to know the dangers posed by improper use and storage of hazardous products and treat them with caution. Generally, hazardous materials are placed in four groups. Many fall under more than one category. The following symbols are often included on consumer products that are potentially harmful.
Classification of Hazardous Materials
Flammable Explosive Corrosive Poisonous
• Anything that poses a threat of fire during routine use is considered to be a flammable
• Aerosol cans are among the most common items that can be lethal if used near a heat
source or open flame. They should be kept away from children and stored far away from
stoves, furnaces and hot water heaters.
• Proper storage of fuels such as gasoline and kerosene is critical. They must be kept in
containers designed specifically to hold them to prevent dangerous spills or vapours from igniting. If possible, they should be stored outside the home in a shed or garage that
can be locked to prevent children from accessing them.
• Whenever you use products that are flammable or give off flammable vapours, make
sure you are in a well ventilated area with easy access to an exit.
• Be careful about storage or use of cloths or rags used to apply flammable liquids such as polishes, spot removers and alcohol-based products. Never put saturated items in a
clothes dryer. It could be hot enough to ignite them.
• The most common explosives found in households are propellants or fuels that are kept
in pressurized containers. This includes aerosol cans, propane tanks and butane fillers
for cigarette lighters.
• Certain substances that are safe when used alone can be extremely dangerous if mixed
together. The chemical reaction of vinegar coupled with baking soda in a sealed
container is a common example.
• Never dispose of potentially explosive materials into apartment building incinerators.
• If you detect the smell of natural gas in your home, or if you suspect there’s a gas leak,
leave the building and call the gas company immediately.
• Many household cleaning items such as oven and drain cleaners are hazardous to the
skin and eyes and also to the environment. Read the labeling carefully. If the
instructions call for rubber gloves, wear them.
• Some corrosives can give off harmful vapours, especially if they’re mixed together. Many scrubbing and dish washing detergents contain chlorine bleach and produce a toxic gas if put in contact with ammonia, lye or acids.
• A corrosive can eat away an improper container. Styrofoam cups and some plastics are
not appropriate for storage of paint thinners or other corrosives.
• The “Skull and Crossbones” signifies toxic materials that can release poisons in sufficient
quantities to harm a person.
• Toxicity means the substance can enter the body by ingestion or eating, through the
skin, or into the lungs. Over time or all at once, there can be a concentration of the
toxin in the body.
• The material can even be beneficial, as is the case with drugs or medicine, but excessive
amounts can cause injury or death.
• Again, reading the label or instructions that come with the product is essential.
Remember that combining one substance with another can create a dangerous chemical
Degree of Danger
Combined with the 3 symbols below, the classification images show the type and extent to which a substance can be harmful.
More About Product Labels
• Make sure that you read all the information.
• The label may tell you about precautions to take when using the product.
• It may outline the most common types of injuries that might result from improper use.
• A list of the active ingredients can help a health care provider or Poison Information Centre to treat the injury.
• Often, the label will provide proper ways to store and dispose of the product.
What to do in the Event of Injury
• Call 911 if the person is having trouble breathing or shows obvious signs of distress.
• Try to keep the person calm and in close sight.
• If the injury is due to ingestion of a poisonous product, call your local Poison Information Centre.
Holiday Fire Safety
Party Hearty But Safely
With the holiday season comes festive lights and candles. Also, there are parties and get together’s where people sometimes drink and smoke. That means heightened risk for fires and reason to be extra cautious. Also, because it’s home heating season there are other hazards in the house to be aware of.
Costumes and decorations should be flame retardant. If you allow smoking in the house, provide smokers with large, deep, non-tip ashtrays. Keep a close eye on anybody who is drinking and smoking. Empty ashtrays often, wetting their contents before dumping them out. Keep matches and lighters out of the hands of children. After the party is over, check cushions and other furniture for smoldering butts.
Candles And Lights
Make sure any lights that you use have C.S.A or similar approval. Lights with cracked or frayed cords should be discarded. Unplug all decorative lights before leaving home or going to bed. Use small, pencil thin lights, which don’t get hot like larger ones do. Don’t use lights on a metal tree. In the case of candles, use non-tip holders. The safest tend to be those in jars where the flame is below the point where the lid fits on. Keep candles away from flammables, such as Christmas presents and decorations. Never leave candles unattended!
If you prefer a real tree, make sure it is fresh when you put it up. Install the tree securely to a stand that won’t tip over. Keep the tree away from fireplaces, heat sources and exits. Ensure that the tree has a constant supply of water. If the tree dries out, it can be an extreme fire hazard. Remove it and store it away from the house until it can be disposed of. Artificial trees should be made of fire retardant materials.
Safe And Warm
Have your heating system and chimney inspected each year, at the start of heating season. Carry out any required servicing. If you use space heaters, remember they should be at least one metre (3 feet) from anything that can burn. Fireplace fires should be kept small. Use a screen to prevent sparks from getting out. Never burn trash or paper in the fireplace. Put ashes in a metal container. Do not store them indoors.
Home Smoke Alarms
“Working Smoke Alarms Save Lives”
The majority of fatal home fires happen at night, when people are asleep. Contrary to popular belief, the smell of smoke may not wake a sleeping person. The poisonous gases and smoke produced by a fire can numb the senses and put you into a deeper sleep.
Inexpensive household smoke alarms sound an alarm, alerting you to a fire. By giving you time to escape, smoke alarms cut your risk of dying in a home fire nearly in half.
Choosing an Alarm
Be sure the smoke alarms you buy carry the label of an independent testing laboratory such as U.L.C or C.S.A. Several types of alarms are available. Some run on batteries, others on household electric current. Some detect smoke using an “ionization” sensor, others use a “photoelectric” detection system. All approved smoke alarms, regardless of the type, will offer adequate protection provided they are installed and maintained properly.
Is One Enough?
Every home should have a smoke alarm outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement. On floors without bedrooms, alarms should be installed in or near living areas, such as dens, living rooms, or family rooms. Read about new Smoke Alarm Legislation.
Be sure everyone sleeping in your home can hear your smoke alarms. If any residents are hearing-impaired or sleep with bedroom door closed, install additional alarms inside sleeping areas as well. There are special smoke alarms for the hearing impaired that flash a light in addition to sounding an audible alarm.
For extra protection, fire departments suggest installing alarms in dining rooms, furnace rooms, utility rooms and hallways. Smoke alarms are not recommended for kitchens, bathrooms or garages – where cooking fumes, steam or exhaust fumes could set off false alarms.
Where to Install
Because smoke rises, mount alarms high on a wall or on the ceiling, depending on the manufacturers instructions:
In stairways with no doors at the top or bottom, position smoke alarms anywhere in the path of smoke moving up the stairs. But always position smoke alarms at the bottom of closed stairways, such as those leading to the basement, because dead air trapped near the door at the top of a stairway could prevent smoke from reaching an alarm located at the top.
Do not install a smoke alarm too near a window, door, or forced-air register where drafts could interfere with the alarm’s operation. For the best results, follow the printed instructions that come with the smoke alarm.
Most battery-powered smoke alarms and alarms that plug into wall outlets can be installed using only a drill and a screwdriver by following the manufacturer’s instructions. Plug-in alarms must have restraining devices so they cannot be unplugged by accident. Alarms can also be hardwired into a building’s electrical system. Hard-wired alarms should be installed by a qualified electrician. Never connect a smoke alarm to a circuit that can be turned off by a wall switch.
Cooking vapours and steam sometimes set off a smoke alarm. To correct this, try moving the alarm away from the kitchen or bathroom or install an exhaust fan. Cleaning your alarm regularly, according to the manufacturer’s instructions, may also help. There are also alarms available that have hush buttons that will silence them for a short period of time as cooking or a shower takes place. If “nuisance alarms” persist, do not disable the alarm. Replace it!
• Only a functioning smoke alarm can protect you.
• Never disable an alarm by borrowing its battery for another use.
• Following the manufacturer’s instructions, test all your smoke alarms monthly and install new batteries at least once a year. A good reminder is when you change your clocks in the spring or fall: change your clock, change your battery.
• Clean your smoke alarms using a vacuum cleaner without removing the alarm’s cover.
• Never paint a smoke alarm.
• Smoke alarms do not last forever. Replace any smoke alarm that is more than 10 years
Plan and Practice
• Make sure everyone is familiar with the sound of the alarm.
• Plan escape routes. Know at least two ways out of each room. Agree on a meeting place
outside your home where all residents will gather after they escape. Practice your escape
plan at least twice a year.
• Remove obstructions from doors and windows needed for escape.
• Make sure everyone in the household can unlock doors and windows quickly, even in the dark. Windows or doors with security bars should be equipped with quick-release devices and everyone in the household should know how to use them.
• When an alarm sounds, leave immediately. Go directly to your outside meeting place and call the fire department.
• Once you’re out, stay out. Never return to a burning building.
Kitchen Fire Safety
Never Leave Cooking Unattended!
Never leave home when a microwave oven, stove burner or oven is on. Keep a close eye on what you’re cooking.
Keep Your Cooking Area Clean
Many items in the kitchen can catch fire easily. They include pot holders, dish towels and
product packaging. Keep curtains away from the stove. Clean up spills onto the stove-top and nearby counters. Clean your oven regularly. Many kitchen fires start because of built up grease.
Kids & Pets Should Stay Clear
There is an imaginary kid-free zone one metre around your kitchen stove. Enforce it strictly. Also keep pets from running around underfoot. They might cause you to trip when you’re holding or near to something very hot.
Always Turn Pot Handles In!
It is too easy for a child to reach up and grab or hit a pot or pan handle that’s sticking out over the edge of the stove-top. Scalding injuries can be quite serious.
Don’t Overload Electrical Outlets
This means the notorious “outlet octopus” must be avoided. That’s when several electrical cords are plugged into the same outlet. Avoid plugging more than one appliance into an outlet. There should not be more than two operating appliances plugged into the same circuit. Heat generating appliances such as toasters and electric frying pans use a lot of current. If you overload the circuit, it will get hot and possibly short out or catch fire. Have damaged cords or outlets fixed immediately. If water gets into an electrical appliance, have it serviced before you use it again.
Watch Your Sleeves
Be mindful of what you’re wearing while cooking. Loose sleeves over hot stove burners can catch fire. Wear clothing with snug cuffs or roll up the sleeves. If you store things above your stove-top, your clothing could catch fire when you lean over stove burners to reach up.
Grease & Cooking Oil
These commonly cause kitchen fires. If using cooking oil, heat it slowly and never leave the pot or pan unattended. Keep close at hand a large lid that would fully cover any cooking vessels on the stove. If the oil or grease should catch fire, the lid can be put over the flames to smother them. Never try to put out an oil or grease fire with water. It will spatter, possibly spreading the fire.
If a fire starts in your oven or microwave oven, keep the door closed to prevent air from feeding the flames. Turn the appliance off or pull the plug. If the flames don’t die out quickly, call Fire Services using 911.
Always Be Alert!
Don’t cook if you’re under the influence of alcohol. The same goes if you’re drowsy from
medication or fatigue.
Fire Safety For Babysitters
Babysitting is one of the biggest responsibilities you will ever take on. When you babysit, the child’s safety is in your hands. You must be prepared to give the child your undivided attention. And if you are going to take responsibility for a child’s safety, you have to plan ahead. The following precautions are simple, but very important.
Make sure you have an exit plan! Every household should have one. Discuss the plan with the adults in the house. Make sure you are familiar with their home, that you know where all the exits are and how to unlock doors and windows. Establish a meeting place outside the home so that you will know that everyone is out safely.
Put away all matches and lighters! Put them up high and out of sight of the child or children you are looking after. Lock them away, if possible. Don’t smoke while you are babysitting. It is not only a bad example for a child…it’s a fire risk too.
Make the kitchen a safe place! Cook only if you have permission from the adults in the
household. If you do cook, never leave the stove or the microwave unattended. If you’re
cooking on the stove-top, turn the handles of the pots and pans in, pointing toward the centre of the stove. Make sure a child cannot bump or grab a handle and spill the hot contents.
Be a Safety Scout! Check to see if smoke alarms are installed and working at the house where you are babysitting. Children are curious by nature. Check to see if safety covers are placed on electrical outlets that are not in use so that a small child cannot stick something into them.
Look at the house numbers outside! Remember them. If they are not clearly visible from the road, point it out to the adults of the household. It helps emergency responders if the numbers can be seen, especially at night.
Here’s what to do if there is a fire!
• Get everybody out of the house and stay out. Everybody should meet at the meeting
• If there is smoke, try to use another exit route. If you can’t use one, crawl low, under
the smoke. Remember that heat and smoke rise.
• Call 911 from a neighbour’s house. If you couldn’t get the children out, tell the person
on the other end where the children are located inside the house. Don’t hang up until
they tell you to. Watch the children carefully while you are waiting for firefighters to
arrive. Don’t let the little ones go near their house.
• After you call 911, you should immediately contact the children’s parents. Make sure
they leave you a number where they can be reached.
Following all these tips will make you a better babysitter and parents will feel that
their children are safe in your care!
Stay Or Go?
Deciding whether it is best to leave the building, or stay…when there’s
Getting out of a burning building is what people’s instincts tell them they should do. But it’s not always the best course of action. Many times, in a multi-unit building, it’s better to stay where you are than risk running into smoke or fire as you leave. If you decide you are going to leave, the decision must be made quickly. The longer you wait, the better the chance the fire or smoke will have spread to stairways and corridors, blocking escape routes. If the fire is in your unit, you and anyone else inside will have to get out. Close all doors behind you and pull the fire alarm as you head for the closest stairway. DO NOT USE THE ELEVATOR!
If you hear the alarm and decide to go
• Check your apartment door. If it is hot, or if smoke is coming in around the edges, do
not open the door. If there is no heat or smoke, open the door a crack and look to see if
the corridor is clear. If it is, take your keys, lock your door and go to the nearest
• Open the door to the stairway carefully. If there’s smoke present, don’t enter. Close the
door and try another stairway. If they are all blocked, return to your unit and protect
yourself from smoke.
• If you are descending (never try to go to the roof…smoke will rise to the top of a
stairway) and encounter smoke, leave the stairway as quickly as you can. Remember to
stay as low as you can. The air is cleaner closer to the floor.
If you remain in your apartment
• Keep smoke from entering your unit. Duct tape is very good for this purpose. Seal the
cracks around the door. Wet towels will also work. You can seal ducts or vents the
• Call the fire department and tell them what unit you are in. If possible, move to the
balcony. If you don’t have a balcony, move to the room with the least amount of smoke
• Open a window to provide you with fresh air. Hang a sheet or blanket from the window
to show rescuers where you are.
Teaching Children Fire Safety
Firefighters Are Your Friends!
The Department makes every effort to ensure that young children will not be frightened by the appearance of fire fighters wearing their full gear. If little ones ever need the help of a firefighter, they are encouraged to go to them, not hide. Too often in fires, children will try to hide in a closet or under a bed. It’s important that they know that they should act immediately to “get out and stay out”!
Home Fire Drills
Every home should have a fire escape plan. Draw up a floor plan of your home,
showing all the ways out of each room. Designate a “meeting place” outside
where everyone can go once they escape. That way, arriving firefighters will
know right away that everyone got out safely. A plan is of little use with no
practice. Hold regular fire drills at home. Push the test buttons on your smoke alarms so
children will know what they sound like. Make sure they respond to a smoke alarm by getting out immediately.
Matches & Lighters
Teach children that matches and lighters are tools for grown-ups only. If they see another child playing with fire, they should tell an adult. Always keep matches and lighters hidden away in a safe place. Leaving them out in the open is an invitation for a curious child to try to use them.
Stop, Drop & Roll
This is what children should be taught to do if their clothes catch fire. In many cases, a child playing with lighters or matches sets fire to and suffers burns from their own clothing. Make sure they know that they must immediately drop to the ground, cover their face with their hands and roll over and over until they put the fire out.
Try not to scare your children, but don’t sugar coat the message either. Be truthful with children about the dangers of fire and smoke. Show them that you are confident about what you will do in the event of a fire and that you can help to protect them. The most important way to ensure their safety is to install working smoke alarms on every level of your home!
Fun Links For Children:
- Elmer the Safety Elephant
- Elmo’s Fire Safety Game
- Sparky the Fire Dog
- Staying Alive
Child Fire Starters
Always Remember–Big Fires Start Small!
Playing With Fire Can Be Deadly!
Figures compiled by the National Fire Protection Association in the United States show that around 40 per cent of children who perish in home fires actually started the fires themselves. Furthermore, more than 1 out of every eight fatal structure fires was set by a child under the age of 15. Those startling statistics show that child fire starters are a serious threat to themselves and others. But there are ways to address the problem. If your child is playing with fire or shows signs of being overly interested in fire, please call our fire prevention division at 519 882-2020.
Why Do Children Start Fires?
Many young children show natural curiosity about fire. It’s a good idea to teach them to
understand fire and what it can do. Once children know the dangers of playing with fire, they should act accordingly. Some children do not and there are many reasons. Here are some of the danger signs when fire starting behavior is displayed:
• When a child is upset about upheaval in their life, such as family break-ups or the death of a loved one.
• There is abuse in the household.
• The child is bullied at school.
• Chronic failure, often caused by a learning disability, is displayed.
• The child needs to assert power, while feeling powerless about something beyond their
What Can A Parent Do?
• Never leave matches or lighters within view or the reach of children!
• Teach children that fire can be dangerous, to themselves and others.
• Children will mimic your actions so use due caution when working with fire.
• Never leave your children around any source of open flame.
• Store flammable liquids safely and away from children.
• Keep your property free of convenient fuels for arsonists such as brush and rubbish.
• Teach older children to use fire responsibly and to bring matches or lighters to an adult,
so younger children can’t access them.
• If your child demonstrates fire starter behavior, get them counseling. There are
agencies that can provide help.
Workplace Fire Safety
-Give heat generating equipment room to breath. Don’t stack papers on devices such as computer monitors.
-Don’t pinch extension cords under furniture.
-Report frayed electrical cords.
-Unplug coffeemakers and other small appliances before everyone leaves for home.
-Make sure your exit ways are not blocked by trash, boxes or other potential impediments.
-Report blocked exit ways as well as problems with sprinklers, alarms and emergency lighting.
-Carefully store flammable liquids if they are used in your workplace.
If A Fire Occurs
-Never ignore the fire alarm.
-Leave immediately, closing doors behind you. If fire is between you and the way out in a high-rise building, sometimes it’s better to stay inside a closed room. Make sure your workplace has a clear fire safety plan and practice it regularly.
-Sound the alarm if someone hasn’t already done so.
-If you encounter smoke, try a different way out. Be aware of all the exits available to you.
-If you have to leave and there’s smoke, crawl low under it.
-Use stairs, not elevators.
-Never go back inside a burning building.
-Make sure everyone is out or leaving the building and the fire department is on the way, before you consider using an extinguisher.
-Fire extinguishers are only good for fighting small fires.
-Ensure that you are using the right type of extinguisher for the fire you are trying to put out.
-To find out more about extinguishers, go to our fire extinguisher web page.
-Ask your employer to provide information on the use of extinguishers. Petrolia Fire Department will come to your workplace to provide this information.