Heat your home safely with these tipsMost of us take warm homes for granted as they are so needed during our great Canadian winters. But whether we are adding additional heat or using back-up heating sources during a power outage, there are things to keep in mind to ensure you heat your home safely.

During winter months, heating equipment like portable space heaters are the leading cause of home fires.

Follow these tips to ensure you use your heating source safely for a warm and cozy home this winter.
 
  • Keep flammable items at least one metre from heat sources, such as space heaters, fireplaces and the stove.
  • Never use charcoal or gas barbecues, camping heating equipment, or home generators indoors because they give off carbon monoxide.
  • Clean chimneys annually.
  • Portable generators can become very hot when in use; follow these safety tips on operating a generator at home.
  • Never leave candles unattended.

Most home fires happen when an open flame or heat source are left unsupervised. The most common causes overall include leaving your hot stove or burning candles unattended or failing to put out a cigarette.

Home fires can happen anywhere and anytime but are most common between December and March. Home fires can happen quickly and with very little warning; but there are things you can do to help prevent them.
 

Tips to prevent house fires:

  • Install smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors on every level of your home. Test the alarms every month and replace the batteries twice a year, at daylight savings time (March and November).
  • Make sure everyone knows where the fire extinguishers are kept.
  • Never smoke in bed.
  • Stay in the kitchen when using the stove top. If you have to leave the room, turn off the stove.
  • Talk to children about the dangers of fire and keep lighters and matches out of reach.
  • Most home fires happen during the holiday period and the winter months. Christmas trees can get very dry when inside and can catch fire very easily. Make sure you water the tree regularly and use approved lights.
  • Learn fire safety techniques and teach them to your family regularly. Make sure everyone is familiar with the technique “STOP, DROP, AND ROLL” in case clothing catches on fire.
  • Show children the alarms and practice what to do if the alarms sound.
 
As always, know and practice your evacuation plan. The key to staying safe is to prepare and to have an emergency plan in place. Talk with your family and neighbours about what you would do during a house fire, and have practice drills with your family, so you know what to do and are prepared.
 
Learn more Home Fire Basics and what to do if you experience a home fire.