Tips for preventing house fires and saving lives

Community News & Features Aug 22, 2014 at 2:51 pm

TORONTO–Every year, fires claim lives and cost millions of dollars in damage; in many cases, these tragedies could be avoided. Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) offers its IBC Top 10:Tips for Preventing House Fires and Saving Lives to help Ontarians protect their families and their homes.

“People often believe equipping their house with a smoke detector is enough to ensure their family’s safety,” said Ralph Palumbo, Vice-President, Ontario, IBC. “In reality, this is just one of many steps people should take. IBC’s Top 10 Tips includes:

1. Install and regularly check smoke detectors – remove dust, check batteries when the clocks change in spring and fall, test regularly and replace at least every 10 years.

2. Create an emergency preparedness plan for your family – develop a fire evacuation plan, practise executing that plan and stick to it in an emergency.

3. Frequently inspect and clean chimney flues- ensure that there are no blockages.

4. Install proper light bulbs- never use light bulbs with a higher wattage than the maximum indicated on the fixture.

5. Monitor heated appliances and decor- properly use and watch portable heaters, ensure lint is removed from the dryer, never leave irons unattended and keep an eye on burning candles.

6. Be careful when cooking- use your kitchen safely, especially when deep-drying or cooking with flammable oils.

7. Properly store flammable materials- store gasoline, solvents, waste or other materials that may ignite at least 10 metres away from your home.

8. Remove dry leaves and debris- keep leaves, other dry materials and potentially flammable garbage away from the exterior of your house, especially if you have wood or vinyl siding.

9. Prepare and update a home inventory – make a list of what you own, including the value of each item, take photos or video and update the list reguIarly.

10. Assemble a disaster safety kit – prepare a basic kit of food, water and other necessities that will last at least 72 hours in an emergency.