Prevention + safety

Information about Ontario Fire Code compliance, fire safety and public education opportunities.

We provide the highest level of life safety and property protection to those who live, work, and play in our community. To book a visit from a public education officer, contact 613-392-6557 or email fireprevention@quintewest.ca.

Prevention

The Quinte West Fire Prevention Office’s goal is to protect people, facilities, and the community from fire’s adverse effects. This is achieved through fire prevention, public education, fire cause determination and fire code enforcement.

Safety tips

While our education programs are mostly in person, common safety tips are provided below. The Ontario Fire Marshal website has more information.

The law requires you to have working carbon monoxide alarms outside sleeping areas if you have fuel fire appliances (furnace, water heater, wood stove, gas fireplace) or an attached garage.

If you hear the alarm sound, evacuate your home and call 9-1-1. Do not go back inside until firefighters have said it is safe to do so. 

Tips for best use:

  • Get an annual inspection of all fuel-burning appliances in your home.
  • Ensure that outside furnace vents are not blocked
  • Do not use portable fuel-burning appliances in enclosed spaces.
  • Test alarm monthly using the test button.
  • Replace alarm batteries once a year or whenever you hear the low-battery chirp
  • Replace alarms within the time frame advised by the manufacturers, typically within seven years.

For more information, visit the CO Safety website.

Fire can spread rapidly through your home, leaving you with less than two minutes to escape safely once a fire has started. It is essential to know what to do when the smoke alarm sounds. 

  1. Develop a home fire escape plan – know what to do when the smoke alarm sounds.
  2. Practice your escape plan
  3. Make sure everyone knows two ways out of each room, if possible.
  4. Help those who need it – who will help children, older adults and anyone with a disability.
  5. Get low and go – under the smoke and to the nearest safe exit.
  6. Choose a meeting place outside – a safe distance from your home.
  7. Get out, stay out – never re-enter a burning building. 

Check out our very own mascot, Sparky. Children can learn about fire safety through interactive videos, games and much more. Click here to learn more.

Kitchen safety:

Leaving cooking unattended is the number one cause of home fires. The tips below will help you reduce the risk of kitchen fires:

  • Stay in the kitchen when cooking, especially if using oil or cooking at high temperatures.
  • Keep items such as cooking utensils, dishcloths, paper towels, and pot holders away from heat.
  • Keep children away from cooking areas, and turn pot handles inwards.
  • Do not wear loose-fitting clothing as it is easier to catch fire – stop, drop and roll if your clothing catches fire.
  • Enjoy a drink while eating the meal, not preparing the meal as many fatal fires occur when people are impaired. 

Barbecue safety: 

  • Open the lid when lighting the barbecue with a match.
  • Keep the barbecue away from combustible items, and never keep it in a garage.
  • Store propane cylinders in upright and well-ventilated areas
  • Check the fitting that connects the barbecue hose is not cracked or bent.
  • Propane cylinders must be certified every ten years.

The use of portable heaters is a practice that is not encouraged by the Quinte West Fire Department due to well-documented fire safety hazards in the Province of Ontario. If the heater is an absolute necessity, owners should adopt a policy to ensure they do not create a fire hazard. The policy should be posted in the building and must address the following: 

 

  • Have a built-in tip-over overheat protection;
  • Be labelled with a Canadian safety certification;
  • Located at least 3 feet away from furniture, window treatments, bedding, clothing, rugs, and other combustibles;
  • Plugged directly into an outlet. Do not use extension cords;
  • Inspected and cleaned heaters regularly;
  • Be shut off and unplugged when left unattended; 
  • Located away from water and out of damp locations;
  • Maintained in originally manufactured condition (i.e. protective screens in place and damaged units replaced); and
  • Be electrically powered. Fuel-fired appliances are not permitted.

The Ontario Fire Code requires a working smoke alarm on every floor in a home and outside all sleeping areas. For maximum protection, we recommend smoke alarms in every bedroom. 

Tips for best smoke alarm use:

  • When installing smoke alarms, refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for the best placement.
  • Test your alarm monthly using the test button
  • Replace alarm batteries once a year or whenever you hear the low-battery chirp
  • Replace alarms within the time frame advised by the manufacturers, typically within ten years.

Tips for maintaining wood burning appliances

Check your chimney and clear any obstructions at the start of the heating season, and make sure damper controls work correctly to keep smoke and toxic gases from building up inside the home. Check chimneys and flue pipes often for creosote and soot build-up and ocean to prevent a chimney fire. Your chimney may have problems you can’t see. If you in doubt, consult a WETT (Wood Energy Technical Training) certified chimney sweep.

Maintain an appropriate chimney cap on top of your chimney to protect against damage from rain or snow. Spark screens should be inspected regularly to make sure smoke can vent properly.

Ensure all joints in flue pipes are securely fastened with at least three screws. Where flue pipes are joined together, the small (crimped) end should point toward the appliance.

Keep combustible materials a safe distance away from wood stoves and fireplaces. Always use a properly fitted screen for your fireplace. Consult a WETT certified chimney sweep if walls get too hot.

Burn properly dried, well-seasoned wood to reduce the risk of excessive creosote buildup from inefficient bruins or smouldering fires. Store wood outdoors stacked in an open area or shed away from the house or deck to provide adequate airflow to assist drying.

Allow ashes to cool fully before cleaning them from your fireplace or woodstove. Use only metal non-combustible containers to remove ashes from the appliance. Take them outside immediately and store them well away from buildings and non-combustible surfaces. 

All homes with fuel-fired appliances should have a carbon monoxide (CO) alarm.

For questions or more information, contact the Quinte West Fire Prevention Office at 613-392-6557 or email fireprevention@quintewest.ca 

Last Updated: 2 months ago

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