Fire Safety Checklist: Safe home, safe family

With the colder months setting in, you may be starting to spend more time indoors. We turn up the heating, start lighting fires and often put heavy demands on our electrics. Use this fire safety checklist to make sure your home is safe this Fall and Winter.

The season change can involve drastic temperature fluctuations and an increase in evenings at home. The transition can put extra demands on our homes, so it is a crucial time to check that everything is up to code and as fireproof as possible. The colder months are especially dangerous due to space heaters, hearth fires, and candles.

A few statistics

There are approximately 24,000 house fires in Canada each year. Unfortunately, this results in more than 3,000 injuries and 375 deaths. Yet most housefires are avoidable through good management and prevention. Please use this fire checklist to make sure your home is as safe as it can be.

Throughout your home

  • Have planned escape routes from various points in your home, including at least one on each floor. Discuss and practise these with your family. It might feel silly, but it could save lives.

  • Never block exits to your home. This includes front doors, back doors, garage doors, and large windows on each floor.

  • Have your heating system serviced at least once a year by a professional. September/October is a great time to do so before heavy use occurs.

  • Install smoke detectors near rooms of concern, such as those with fireplaces and the kitchen and near each bedroom. These should all be tested monthly.

  • Have appropriate fire extinguishers (at least one per floor) and a fire blanket in the kitchen. You must also check you know how to use them effectively before you need to use them under pressure.

  • Keep lighters and matches stored somewhere safe, dry, and out of reach of children. Do not store them with candles or other flammable materials.

  • Examine all wiring in your home (September is a great time to do this) to ensure nothing is frayed, damaged, or otherwise not functioning as intended.

  • Make sure you always use the right strength of lightbulb for your fixtures and use the right plugs for your sockets.

  • Don't overload your sockets with extension cords.

  • Never store cleaning goods and other flammable materials near anything that heats up or absorbs a lot of sunlight. A dedicated cupboard in a cool, dark place is perfect.

  • Always extinguish candles or fires fully and unplug or switch off appliances before bed. A fault in wiring or a smouldering flame can easily cause an issue if left unattended for extended periods.

  • Never leave hair straighteners or similar devices switch on and unattended.

  • Keep portable heaters at least 1m away from all surrounding furnishings, including curtains and bedding.

In your kitchen

  • Never leave tea towels near stoves or ovens.

  • Turn pan handles away from other stove points.

  • Check that you have turned off everything before you go to bed.

  • Keep grease levels in your grill, oven, and on your stove minimal to avoid grease fires.

  • Unplug appliances that aren't in use.

  • Keep paper towels away from heated surfaces.

In your living room

  • Only burn suitable materials on your fireplace. Household items, such as plastic wrappers and magazines, can be unpredictable and should be avoided.

  • Always use a fireguard.

  • Keep wiring and furnishings at least 1m away from your fireplace.

In your bathroom

  • Unplug appliances when not in use and keep them away from sinks, showers, and baths.

  • Only use appliances that are labelled as suitable for bathroom use.

In your bedroom

  • Never smoke in your bedrooms and never smoke lying down. The combination of flammable materials and sleepy behaviours have led to disaster more than anyone likes to think about.

  • Unplug electric blankets when not in use.

  • Never sleep with electric blankets or bed warmers on. Use them for a maximum of 30 minutes, then unplug them before you sleep.

In your garage

  • Keep your garage clutter-free to avoid piling flammable materials together.

  • Keep cleaning materials and gardening chemicals safely in a cupboard, away from anything electrical or prone to temperature fluctuations. This includes rags that may have chemicals on them.

  • Try to use cordless appliances, and if not, always ensure you use a safe extension cable that doesn't travel near flammable materials. Never leave tools plugged in without supervision and disconnect them as soon as you are done.

Related content:

More tips on avoiding house fires

Winter fire safety tips

Let us Restore your Peace of Mind

Fire prevention is so important. We all like to think that we will never experience a fire at home; acting now could help to prevent one. If a fire does break out in your home, please make sure you get out safely, call the fire department, and then call us to restore your home from smoke damage. We are prepared to handle any emergency 24 hours a day, 365 days a year as your emergency is ours too.

If you have smoke or fire damage, contact us today and we'll restore your home and your peace of mind.

ServiceMaster Restore Moncton - Restoring Peace of Mind® since 1972.