Fire Chief Kevin Clifford and the Saint John Fire Department would like to remind citizens of a few simple things that can save lives during the winter. With the current cold temperatures, there are some small measures you can take to keep your family and your home safe from fire.
“The winter season is the worst season for fires in Canada,” says Chief Clifford. We have to keep fire prevention and safety in mind during winter when fireplaces, heaters, household appliances and other electrical equipment are in maximum use.”
Here are some safety tips the Saint John Fire Department asks people to remember:
- Heating appliances such as space heaters should not have anything combustible close by and need at least one metre (three feet) of space around them. Inspect the electrical cord attached. If it overheats, you have a fire hazard. Keep young children away from them.
- Electrical and heating systems can fail and become fire hazards. Ensure they are regularly checked by a professional.
- Most chimney fires occur with wood-burning fireplaces. Ensure chimneys are cleaned and professionally inspected regularly. Burn only small quantities of wood at a time.
- Teach children that fire is not a toy; it is a tool we use to cook food and heat our homes. Educate your children about the dangers of fire and make sure they know that all fires, even small ones, can spread very quickly.
- Ensure that all exit doors, stairs, paths of exit travel, exterior passageways, and exterior exit stairs remain free of snow and ice accumulations. This will make it easier to leave in case of emergency, while also providing responders a clear path to your home.
- Be a good neighbour. Check on elderly and vulnerable neighbours who may need assistance with snow removal or getting out to grocery stores and pharmacies during the cold weather.
- Make sure you have working smoke alarms on every level of your home, inside each bedroom and outside each sleeping area.
More safety tips and tools, including safety checklists and fun family activities can be found on the National Fire Protection Association’s website.