With more people staying at home, fire prevention needs to be top of mind
Ontario’s Fire Marshal is urging all Ontarians to follow the recommendations of medical and health professionals on how to use and clean personal protective equipment (PPE) and stresses that microwave ovens should never be used to sterilize a face mask.
“Heating a face mask in a microwave, in an effort to decontaminate it, is a potential fire risk and should never be done,” said Jon Pegg, Ontario Fire Marshal, in response to suggestions that microwaves can be used to sterilize masks for re-use.
Microwave ovens are not designed to heat cloth materials, so there is a risk of the mask overheating and catching fire. Many disposable masks also have a metal nose wire or staples holding the straps which can cause sparks or a fire if heated in a microwave.
The Fire Marshal is reminding everyone that fire safety is especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic when so many families are staying at home and doing more cooking. Ontarians need to be especially vigilant about fire prevention as fire and smoke can travel so quickly that firefighters may not be able to rescue someone in time.
“There have been 51 fire fatalities between Jan. 1 and May 4, a 65 % increase over the same time period last year, with 17 Ontarians dying in fires this past March alone,” noted Pegg.
To reduce potential fire risks in your home:
Always stay in the kitchen when you are cooking – unattended cooking is a leading cause of home fires
Keep a close eye on anyone drinking alcohol while attempting to cook or smoke
Encourage smokers to smoke outside the home and garage and thoroughly extinguish all smoking materials in water or sand
Always blow out candles before leaving the room or going to bed
Avoid overloading electrical outlets and running electrical cords under rugs or furniture which can damage the cords and cause a fire
Ensure items that can burn are at least one metre away from space heaters
Test your alarms by pressing the test button – only working smoke alarms give you the early warning required to safely escape a fire in your home
Practice your home fire escape plan and make sure everyone knows two ways out of each room, if possible
Keep all exits clear of obstructions that might hinder a safe escape.
When you call 911 in an emergency, emergency responders can lose precious minutes trying to locate the home, business, or other type of facility that requires assistance if address numbers are not EASILY and CLEARLY visible!
YOU can greatly assist in making this possible!
Some questions, tips and guidelines from the Mattawa Fire Department:
Ask your friends, clients, and visitors if they can clearly see the property number.
Is the property number clearly visible in both daylight and at night?
Is there enough contrast in the numbers versus the background on which they are displayed?
Are the numbers faded, do they need to be painted, or replaced?
Are there lights near the numbers to make them more visible?
Are the numbers reflective?
Bigger is better!
Recommendation for single-family homes is at least 4″ high lettering.
Recommendation for multiple dwelling units is at least 6″ high lettering.
Do the numbers face the street on which the property resides?
Are the numbers visible in both directions? You never know in which direction emergency assistance may approach.
If there is a driveway to a property, then the numbers need to be clearly visible at the accessing road.
Trim, trim, trim…
Bushes, flowers, vines, trees, weeds can easily obscure property numbers in spring, summer, and fall.
Move anything that may obscure the property numbers.
Clear snow and ice to make all property numbers clearly visible.
Mattawa Fire Department is urging everyone to keep fire safety in mind as the temperatures turn colder.
We often see more home fires during the winter months due to heating equipment and appliances. People need to pay close attention to potential fire hazards such as fireplaces, furnaces, chimneys and vents, and space heaters.”
There are some simple things people can do to stay fire safe during the colder months:
Have all fuel-burning appliances inspected annually by a registered fuel contractor. Go to heating.tssa.org to find a contractor near you.
Keep chimneys and intake/exhaust vents for furnaces and heating appliances free of debris, ice and snow accumulations to reduce the risk of carbon monoxide (CO) build-up from inefficient combustion.
Burn dry, well-seasoned wood in fireplaces and woodstoves to reduce the risk of excessive creosote build-up in chimneys.
Allow ashes from your fireplace or woodstove to cool before emptying them into a metal container with a tight-fitting lid. Keep the container outside.
Keep space heaters at least one metre (3 feet) away from anything that can burn, including curtains, upholstery and clothing.
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.
Ensure there is a working smoke alarm on every storey and outside all sleeping areas of your home.
Install CO alarms to alert you to the presence of this deadly gas.
Mattawa Fire Department reminds everyone that the Ontario Fire Code requires smoke alarms to be installed on every storey of your home and outside all sleeping areas. Carbon monoxide alarms are required outside all sleeping areas if the home has a fuel-burning appliance, a fireplace or an attached garage. For more information about smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, or fire safety, contact Mattawa Fire Department.