The Emergency Services Division of Haldimand County would like to remind all residents of the importance of having proper smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms in their residences. With the tragic number of house fires and related fatalities in 2022, a key priority for Emergency Services in 2023 is stressing the importance of working smoke/CO alarms under the Fire Code. Community members are asked to be mindful of the requirements as failure to comply could lead to charges.
Provincewide, fire-related deaths have been steadily rising year after year.
- 2019 saw 72 fire deaths
- 2020 saw 114 fire deaths
- 2021 saw 124 fire deaths
- 2022 saw 133 fire deaths
The top five suspected causes of residential fires are as follows:
- Unattended cooking
- Overloaded or faulty wiring
- Supplementary heating from space heaters, wood stoves, and chimneys
- Careless smoking
Ontario law requires fire detection devices on every floor of a dwelling and outside all sleeping areas. Offenders can be ticked $360 or fined up to $50,000, and double that for corporations.
What to do to help avoid house fires:
- Don’t leave the kitchen unattended, most kitchen fires are a result of distraction or leaving the oven/unattended. If you need to leave the room, ask your spouse or roommate to keep an eye on the food and keep stove and oven clean. Keeping your appliances such as your stove clean reduces the risk of a grease fire. Residents should either manually clean their appliances once it is at room temperature, or opt for the oven self-cleaning setting every few months.
- Limit the use of extension cords and read the CSA/ESA labels on items you are using to determine the electrical load on the receptacle you are using. Especially heating devices/appliances.
- Try to replace traditional candles with battery-operated decorative candles. If you must use a traditional candle ensure it is in a “tip” proof container or globe.
- If you smoke, be sure to do it outside and completely extinguish the cigarette in an ashtray.
To help avoid injury or death in the event of a fire, Haldimand County Fire Department recommends the following tips.
- “Get Out and Stay Out” – never go back inside for anything.
- Make sure to test your alarms frequently and change the batteries twice annually.
- Have an escape plan and practice it with your family members. It is important to have a plan set in place prior to an emergency, and allow your children to hear the alarm sounding when you test the batteries so they know what it sounds like.
- Openly discuss with your children the importance of following the rules and safety guidelines as everyone’s lives depend on it.
If you are not sure how many alarms you need or where they should be placed, do not hesitate to reach out to your local fire department.