Prevent a fire with regular maintenance and good sense

July 27, 2015

Just as important as a good homeowner's insurance policy, good fire prevention practices will minimize your chances of having a fire and having deal with significant losses.  The most common fires are most often preventable if you follow these simple tips.

Prevent a fire with regular maintenance  and good sense

Invest to save

Automatic fire sprinklers paired with working smoke detectors greatly increase the chances of surviving a fire. Individual sprinkler heads are activated only where fire strikes. This feature minimizes water and fire damage to rooms where there is not fire, while hampering and containing flames in the engulfed area and allowing more time for you to escape.

They're relatively inexpensive and they enhance property value while lowering insurance rates. Consider installing them if you are building, buying or remodelling a house. Fire sprinklers can be connected to your standard household plumbing system.

Contact your local fire department or a vendor for more information.

Avoiding kitchen fires

Here are some ways to reduce fire risks in your kitchen.

  • Heat oil in pans slowly and with care — hot grease can self-ignite and quickly.
  • Clean grease-catching stove vents and wall fans regularly to avoid starting fires.
  • Keep pot holders, dish towels and other flammable items well away from cooktops. Watch those sleeves or clothing to ensure they don't dangle near burners.
  • Don't leave the kitchen when the range is turned on. It's too easy to get caught up in a conversation or in another project and forget about it.

Household dryers: a common source of fires

Dryers are another common source of house fires.

  • Check the exterior vent of your clothes dryer periodically for lint buildup, and clean it out.
  •  If your dryer is not working efficiently,  have it checked immediately; there may be hidden blockage, which is a fire hazard.

Service your furnace

Don't be a statistic. Servicing your furnace will ensure your safety and efficiency.  Inadequate servicing is the cause of most furnace fires.

  • Have a professional clean and check your furnace at the beginning of each heating season.
  • Change filters regularly to avoid overheating.


If your fireplace is a favorite hangout  during the winter months, follow these steps to ensure safety and efficiency.

  • Use fireplace screens to keep sparks from igniting carpets and furniture and to keep kids out.
  • Hire a qualified chimney sweep yearly to clean and check your flue for cracks, leaves and birds' and wasps' nests.
  • Check building and fire codes before you purchase and install supplemental heating equipment such as a wood stove or a space heater.
  • Purchase only UL-certified or FM-approved equipment, and use only the fuel recommended by the manufacturer.
  • Make sure the unit you buy can't be tipped easily and will shut off automatically if it is tipped over.
  • Locate the unit at least one metre (three feet) away from a wall or anything else that can burn.
  • Turn off all portable heaters while you're sleeping or away from home.

Flammable substances

Believe it or not, every year fires erupt as a result of people storing  solvent-soaked rags in  warm places.  To avoid a solvent fire:

  • Dry out all rags that have been used with oil-based paints, turpentine and paint thinner, and other petroleum-based solvents before disposing them.
  • Dispose of them or store them in containers with tight-fitting lids.
  • Store burnable trash in metal cans with lids, away from heat sources such as water heaters, space heaters, stoves and furnaces.
  • Keep matches away from heat, preferably in closed containers.

Holiday fire prevention

Holidays, especially Christmas and Hanukkah, bring an increased risk of residential fires. Consider these tips while celebrating or relaxing in the soft glow of candlelight or hanging festive lights.

  • Keep candles and lights  a safe distance from any flammable material and warn children of their dangers.
  • Place your Christmas tree well away from a fireplace or an exit.
  • Keep wrappings and gifts away from tree lights. If using a real evergreen tree, keep it watered well.
  • Always turn off holiday lights overnight and, on a Christmas tree, whenever it will be left unattended.
The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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