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Fire Safety

Sparky Fire Safety Starts with You!


It is your responsibility to keep your home and family safe from fire. 

  • Prevent fires before they start. 
  • Maintain working smoke alarms on every level of your home and outside every sleeping area.
  • Prepare and practice a home escape plan.
  • Consider installing residential sprinklers when building a new home or doing major renovations. 

Fire Safety Tips

In the event of an emergency, working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms can save your life. It's the law, in Ontario, to have a minimum of one working smoke alarm on every storey of your home, as well as outside of all sleeping areas. Carbon monoxide alarms are required to be installed on all sleeping levels in dwellings with a fuel-burning appliance, fireplace or attached storage garage. Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms don't last forever, replace them as required by the manufacturer's instructions. 

  • Test your alarms every month using the test button.
  • Replace alarm batteries at least once per year and whenever the low battery warning chirps.
  • You can also purchase alarms with a 10-year sealed "worry-free" batteries, which last until the alarm expires.
  • You must maintain the level of protection that was required when your home was constructed. This means that if your home was built with hard-wired alarms, when the alarms expire they must be replaced with new hard-wired alarms.

  • Ionization smoke alarms: Respond better to fast flaming fires; such as a pan fires.  
  • Photoelectric smoke alarms: Respond better to smoldering fires; such as smoking materials on a couch cushion.  

If you are having trouble with nuisance alarms, check what type you have. Sometimes, ionization alarms are responsible for nuisance alarms if they are installed too close to the kitchen or the bathroom. Remember smoke and carbon monoxide alarms should be a minimum of 3 meters or 10 feet from stove and other cooking appliances.  

Careless cooking is the leading cause of fires in Ontario.  

  • Keep your cooking space clean and free of anything that can burn; 
  • Don't store anything on the back of your stove; 
  • Reaching over hot burners and pots can cause burns; 
  • Roll up your sleeves or wear a short sleeved shirt; 
  • Keep pot lids close to the stove while you cook; 
  • If there is a small fire you can slide lid onto the pot or pan and turn off burners to put it out. 

  • Keep anything that can burn at least one metre away from furnaces, baseboard heaters, woodstoves and fireplaces; 
  • Make sure you have working carbon monoxide alarms outside sleeping areas in your home; 
  • Get regular maintenance on your heating equipment from a qualified professional; 
  • Turn off portable heaters every time you leave the room and when you go to bed; 
  • Put ashes into a metal bucket far from combustible materials to cool down; 
  • It can take three days for ashes to cool completely; 
  • Maintain chimneys to make sure there are no blockages. 

  • Always stay in the room when candles are burning, put out the flame every time you leave the room or go to bed. 
  • In a power outage use battery powered lanterns or battery powered candles to reduce the risk of fire. 
  • Keep candles away from anything that can burn such as furniture or curtains. 
  • Keep candles away from pets. 
  • Keep candles in sturdy candle holders that won't tip or burn. 

Vapour from gasoline can catch on fire or explode very easily. 

  • Store in small quantities (less than one gallon) in containers that have been approved by the Canadian Standard Association (CSA) or Underwriters' Laboratories of Canada (ULC). 
  • Don't store gasoline in your home. 
  • Always fill lawnmowers, snow blowers, etc. in a well-ventilated area outside of your building and move away from where you filled up when you start the motor. 
  • Avoid spills, if you do spill gasoline wipe it up right away. 
  • Do not smoke when you use gasoline or other flammable liquids, and never use gasoline for cleaning purposes. 
  • Do not store gasoline where children will have easy access to it, if a child swallows gasoline call a Poison Centre or a doctor right away. 

  • A smell is added to propane so that you can smell it if there is a leak, it smells like rotten eggs or boiling cabbage. 
  • Store your propane tanks outside in a well-ventilated and secure location. 
  • Keep your head away from the valves on propane tanks because a sudden burst of propane liquid from the safety valve could result in serious injury or frostbite. 
  • Keep your tank painted a white, aluminum or another reflective colour to reflect sunlight which can cause the tank to heat up and increase in pressure. 
  • Ask propane suppliers to check for dents, damage, rust or leaks before refilling a tank. 
  • Check the date stamp on the collar of the tank to see when it was last approved, propane tanks must be inspected and re-qualified or replaced every 10 years in Canada. 

  • Keep fire hydrants visible and accessible; 
  • Keep grass and vegetation away from fire hydrants; 
  • In the winter make sure there is one metre of clear space around fire hydrants and clear paths to reach fire hydrants. 

  • Make sure cottages, boats with sleeping areas, trailers and recreational vehicles have working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. 
  • Follow all manufacturer's directions when you use fireworks. 
  • Keep your barbecue clean and inspect hoses and burners, make any needed repairs and have it inspected by a licensed gas professional. 
  • Follow burning regulations when you have a fire. 

What is Carbon Monoxide?

  • Carbon Monoxide is a colourless, odourless, tasteless, toxic gas that enters the body through the lungs during the normal breathing process. It replaces oxygen in the blood and prevents the flow of oxygen to the heart, brain and other vital organs.
  • It kills: Many Canadians die every year from carbon monoxide poisoning in their own homes, most of them while sleeping
  • It injures: Hundreds of Canadians are hospitalized every year from carbon monoxide poisoning, many of whom are permanently disabled. 

Produced when carbon-based fuels are incompletely burned such as: 

  • Wood 
  • Propane 
  • Natural Gas
  • Heating Oil 
  • Coal 
  • Kerosene 
  • Charcoal 
  • Gasoline 

Many Ontario homes have an average 4–6 fuel-burning appliances that produce carbon monoxide. 

  • Stove 
  • Furnace 
  • Fireplace 
  • Dryer 
  • Water heater 
  • Barbecue 
  • Portable fuel fired generator 
  • Portable fuel heater 
  • Vehicles 

Regularly maintained appliances that are properly ventilated should not produce hazardous levels of carbon monoxide. 

  • Install a carbon monoxide alarm on all sleeping levels of the home. 
  • Install the carbon monoxide alarm(s) in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. 
  • Ensure fuel-burning appliances, chimneys and vents are cleaned and inspected by professionals every year before cold weather sets in. Visit to find a registered contractor near you. 
  • Ensure vents for the dryer, furnace, stove, fireplace and other fuel-burning appliances are clear of snow and other debris. 
  • Gas and charcoal barbecues should only be used outside, away from all doors, windows, vents, and other building openings. 
  • Never use barbecues inside garages, even if the garage doors are open. 
  • Portable fuel-burning generators should only be used outdoors in well-ventilated areas away from windows, doors, vents and other building openings. 
  • Ensure all portable fuel-burning heaters are vented properly, according to manufacturer’s instructions. 
  • Never use the stove or oven to heat your home. 
  • Open the flue before using a fireplace for adequate ventilation. 
  • Never run a vehicle or other fueled engine or motor inside a garage, even if the garage doors are open. Always remove a vehicle from the garage immediately after starting it. 

Know the Sound of the CO Alarm: 

  • Your CO alarm sounds different than your smoke alarm. Test both alarms monthly and make sure everyone in your home knows the difference between the two alarm sounds. 
  • Know the difference between the CO alarms' low-battery warning, end of life warning and an emergency alarm – consult the CO alarm manufacturer’s instructions. 

  • Exposure to CO can cause flu-like symptoms such as headaches, nausea and dizziness, as well as confusion, drowsiness, loss of consciousness and death. 
  • If your CO alarm sounds, and you or other occupants suffer from symptoms of CO poisoning, get everyone out of the home immediately. Then call 9-1-1 or your local emergency services number from outside the building. 
  • If your CO alarm sounds, and no one is suffering from symptoms of CO poisoning, check to see if the battery needs replacing, or the alarm has reached its "end-of-life" before calling 9-1-1. 


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