Fire Prevention and Pet Fire Safety Tips

19 October 2018
Life and the City

The holiday season is approaching - which means that it's the ideal time to review the steps to prevent and deal with fires in your home.

This year's Fire Prevention Week, which took place on October 7th to 13th, had a theme which focused on three fundamental actions that people can take to be fire-safe: LOOK, LISTEN and LEARN. Continue reading to learn more about these action steps, as well as our Pet Fire Safety Tips below.

#1:  LOOK

Look for potential fire hazards around your home. Take action to prevent fire from starting.

  • Always stay in the kitchen while cooking. If you must leave, turn off the stove.
  • Keep anything that burns— cooking utensils, dishcloths, paper towels and pot holders— a safe distance from the stove.
  • Loose-fitting clothes can come into contact with stove burners and catch fire. Wear tight sleeves or roll them up when cooking.
  • Encourage smokers to smoke outside. Always extinguish cigarettes in large, deep ashtrays that cannot be knocked over.
  • Do not extinguish cigarettes in plant pots, which may contain a mixture of peat moss, shredded wood and bark that can easily ignite.
  • Never smoke in bed.
  • Use large, deep ashtrays that cannot be knocked over.
  • Empty ashes into a metal container—not the garbage can—and put it outside.
Electrical equipment:
  • Check electrical cords for damage such as fraying or nicks. A damaged cord can expose wires and result in a potential shock or fire hazard.
  • Avoid running cords under rugs, which can damage the cord and cause a fire.
  • Extension cords should be used only as a temporary connection. If permanent wiring is required, have additional outlets installed by a licensed electrician.
  • Air conditioners and other heavy appliances should be plugged directly into an outlet.
Heating equipment:
  • Ensure that all chimneys are cleaned and inspected every year.
  • Ensure your heating system is inspected annually by a qualified service technician.
  • Install a CO alarm to alert you to the presence of deadly carbon monoxide gas.
  • Keep space heaters at least one meter (3 feet) away from anything that can burn, including curtains, upholstery, clothing and people.
  • Allow the ashes from your woodstove or fireplace to cool before emptying them into a metal container with a tight-fitting lid. Keep the container outside.

#2:  LISTEN 

Listen for the smoke alarm to warn of a fire emergency. Make sure everyone knows the sound of the smoke alarms and can hear them in an emergency. Early detection gives you the extra seconds you need to get out safely.

Smoke alarms save lives! 

Homes today burn up to 8 times faster than 50 years ago. Only working smoke alarms give you the early warning you need to safely escape a fire.
  • Install smoke alarms on every storey of your home and outside all sleeping areas. For best protection, install smoke alarms in every bedroom.
  • Larger homes may require additional smoke alarms so everyone in the home can hear them in a fire emergency.
  • Test smoke alarms monthly and change the batteries at least once a year.
  • Develop and practice a home fire escape plan.
  • Air conditioners and other heavy appliances should be plugged directly into an outlet.

#3:  LEARN

Learn two ways out of every room. Practice a home fire escape plan with everyone in your home before a fire starts so you and your family can get out quickly.

  • Test your smoke alarms– EVERY MONTH!
  • Discuss with everyone in your home how each person will get out in a fire. Practice your plan!
  • Know two ways out of each room, if possible.
  • Determine who’s going to help young children, older adults, people with disabilities or anyone else who needs help escaping.
  • Have a meeting place outside of your home.
  • Call 9-1-1 or your emergency number from outside the home.
  • GET OUT, STAY OUT! Never re-enter a burning building!

For more information on fire prevention, and for infographics and cards that you can print or share, go here. 



Take these steps to protect your pets from potential fire danger!
  • The best way to protect your pets from the effects of a fire is to include them in your family plan. This includes having their own disaster supplies kit as well as arranging in advance for a safe place for them to stay if you need to leave your home.
  • When you practice your escape plan, practice taking your pets with you. Train them to come to you when you call.
  • In the event of a disaster, if you must evacuate, the most important thing you can do to protect your pets is to evacuate them, too. But remember: never delay escape or endanger yourself or family to rescue a family pet.
Every year, pets are the cause of many preventable home fires.

Curious pets can easily knock over lit candles, investigate what’s cooking on the stove, or even get into trouble if they get too close to a fire in the fireplace. Here are a few tips to keep pets safe around the house:

  • Ensure your pet is never left unattended around an open flame
  • Remove or protect stove knobs so they can’t accidentally jump up and turn on the stove
  • Invest in flame-less candles. Cats are known for batting at and knocking down lit candles
  • Secure especially active and young pets either in a crate or behind a gate in an easily accessible area

In the event of a fire, help firefighters find your pets easily.

  • Keep pets near an entrance while you are away from home
  • Invest in pet alert window clings to let firefighters know you have pets and how many. Attach the static cling to a front window. This critical information saves rescuers time when locating your pets. Make sure to keep the number of pets listed on them updated.
  • Keep collars on your pet and leashes at the ready so they can be leashed to escort out (cats and dogs hide in fear and are sometimes difficult to capture)

For more information on protecting your pets from the dangers of fire, go here.