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home-safety
Fire safety: have a plan

Canada’s Fire Prevention Week is the second week in October. This is an opportunity for homeowners to assess home fire safety and make sure the whole family knows what to do in the event of a fire.

All home insurance policies will cover damage caused by fire and comprehensive vehicle insurance will cover fire damage to a car or truck. In addition to insurance coverage, it’s important to be fire smart, which includes installing and checking fire-safety devices in a home and creating a fire-evacuation plan.

Installing fire-safety devices

Smoke detectors

Did you know smoke detectors can expire? Smoke detectors need to be checked twice a year to replace batteries, it’s a great opportunity to also check your detector’s expiration date. Most smoke detectors have a life span of 10 years however some models may expire within five years so it’s best to check the dates while changing batteries.

To change smoke-detector batteries, remove the detector from the wall or ceiling and look at the back of the device – this is where the battery pack is located. This area of the device is also where the manufacture date is often displayed.

Fire extinguishers

According to Fire Prevention Canada, fire extinguishers can be good for small fires, but there are different types of extinguishers:

  • Type A – designed to extinguish fires with wood, paper, plastic or other combustible materials
  • Type B – designed for fighting fires fuelled by flammable liquids such as gasoline, oil or paint
  • Type C – designed for fighting fires that have been started by electrical systems or appliances

For most homes, it is best to have a fire extinguisher designed for all three types of fires commonly found in residential homes. Fire extinguishers should only be used if it’s safe. If a fire is out of control, evacuate the home and call 9-1-1.

Like smoke detectors, fire extinguishers also expire. Reviewing the manufacturer’s instructions for the fire extinguisher often is the best way to learn when it needs to be serviced or replaced and how it’s used.

Creating a fire-escape plan

In addition to fire-safety devices, having a fire-escape plan is another way to be prepared. Follow these steps to create a fire-escape plan:

  1. draw a floor plan of the house
  2. mark two exit routes for each room
  3. establish a meeting place outside the home
  4. ensure everyone in the home knows the exit routes and meeting place
  5. keep the fire evacuation plan in an easily-viewed area  (i.e., the fridge)
  6. use fire drills to practice exit routes

Extinguish lack of fire-safety knowledge

Fire Prevention Week is the perfect time for homeowners to evaluate fire preparedness and educate family members about fire safety. Review our collection of fire safety tips for homeowners including how to use candles, space heaters and extensions cords safely, how to keep your wood or gas burning fire place safe and how to reduce the risks of fires in your kitchen.