Home Safety

Learn how to identity fire risks in your home and plan ahead so that your family knows what to do during a fire emergency.

Alarms

You must install smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors in your home outside of all sleeping areas.

Make a plan

During a fire, you don't have a lot of time. Make a plan with your family so that they know what to do in an emergency and how to escape a fire.

Take a few minutes with everyone in your home to make a home fire escape plan, following these instructions.

 Draw a floor plan of your home
Use this grid to draw a floor plan of your home. You should draw a plan for each storey of your home.
Include all possible emergency exits
Draw in all the doors, windows and stairways. This will show you and your family all possible escape routes at a glance. Include any features, such as the roof of a garage or porch, that would help in your escape.
Show two ways out of every room, if possible
The door will be the main exit from each room. However, if the door is blocked by smoke or fire, identify an alternate escape route, which could be a window. Make sure that all windows can open easily and that everyone knows how to escape through them to safety. If windows have security bars, equip them with quick-releasing devices.
Does anyone need help to escape?
Decide in advance who will assist the very young, older adults or people with disabilities in your household. A few minutes of planning will save valuable seconds in a real emergency.
Choose a meeting place outside
Choose a meeting place a safe distance from your home that everyone will remember. A tree, street light or a neighbour’s home are all good choices. In case of fire, everyone will go directly to this meeting place so they can be accounted for.
Call the fire department from outside your home
Don’t waste valuable seconds calling the fire department from inside your home. Once you have safely escaped, call the fire department from a cell phone or a neighbour’s home.
 Practice your escape
Review the plan with everyone in your household. Walk through the escape routes for each room with the entire family. Use this walk-through exercise to check your escape routes, making sure all exits are practical and easy to use. Practice your escape plan twice a year and time how long it takes. In a real fire, you must react without hesitation as your escape routes may be quickly blocked by smoke or flames.
Remember
  • Plan two ways out of every room, if possible
  • Practice your escape plan twice a year
  • Install smoke alarms on every storey of your home and outside all sleeping areas
  • If you live in a high-rise apartment building, contact the building management for information on what to do if there's a fire in your building

Draw your plan

Draw a floor plan of your home that marks two ways out of every room. Detail all escape routes available in each room and especially from sleeping areas.

Practice twice a year

You should practice your escape plan at least twice a year. Schedule a home fire drill and have the whole family participate.

Make your exit drill realistic. You can pretend that different exits are blocked by fire or filling up with smoke each time that you practice and everyone can use alternative escape routes.

You want everyone to get out quickly but carefully. A fire drill is not a race.

Check for hazards in your home

Most causes of home fires are preventable. You should check your home for potential hazards and keep matches away from heat sources and children.

Cooking tips

You should supervise any cooking and keep a lid close by when cooking oils to prevent pots from boiling over.

Make sure that you:

  • Keep your stove clean and free of grease
  • Keep paper towels, tea towels, and curtains away from sources of heat

Electrical equipment tips

Electrical equipment failure and overheating can create a house fire. To prevent overheating, only plug in one heat-producing appliance into an electrical outlet at a time.

If a fuse blows or circuit breaker trips often, you should find out why and fix the problem. You can have a qualified electrician have a look and have them install more outlets if needed.

Make sure that you:

  • Turn off and unplug any malfunctioning appliances
  • Use the proper lightbulbs for your lamps and light fixtures
  • Replace any damaged or broken cords and plugs before using them
  • Never use cords that have been tightly wrapped as it can overheat
  • Replace any missing, cracked or broken cover plates

Natural gas and propane appliance tips

Make sure that natural gas and propane appliances are properly installed and maintaining in your home. This greatly reduces the risk of fire and the potential of carbon monoxide poisoning. Keep anything that's powered by gasoline outside of your home.

You should check your heating appliances and make sure that your furnace is inspected and cleaned before the winter season starts. Make a housecleaning plan for all of your heating and cooling systems and appliances.

Make sure that you:

  • Never use or store flammable and combustible materials or liquids near heaters
  • Ensure that all fuel-burning equipment has proper ventilation to the outside
  • Keep exhaust vents clear and free of any obstructions

If you ever smell gas coming from an appliance, do not try to light it. Turn off all of its controls and open all windows and doors close by. Call a gas service technician and get them to have a look.

Wood-burning fireplace and stove tips

Wood-burning fireplaces and stoves account for many preventable fires. To keep your family safe, make sure that you're using them safely and maintain them.

Your woodstoves, chimneys and chimney connection must be installed properly and should follow all of the manufacturer's instructions. You can have a professional technician install them for you to be safe.

Allow ashes to cool before you get rid of them. It can take up to three days for any embers and ashes to cool completely.

Make sure that you:

  • Keep any doors closed unless you're adding wood or stoking a fire
  • Only burn wood that's split, well-seasoned and has been allowed to dry for 12 months
  • Clean and inspect them annually