Keeping Your Family Safe From Fire

Friday, November 28, 2014

red-fire-extinguisherKeeping your family out of harm’s way is your top priority.

A house fire can become deadly in a matter of three minutes while it can take seven minutes or more for the fire department to arrive. National Home Fire Safety Week is a good time to examine ways to prevent, detect and escape a house fire.

Start With Prevention

There are hazards in every room of your home that can lead to a fire. Here are some of the most important fire-triggers to be aware of:

Kitchen: Kitchen fires are the most common type of fire in Alberta. Check small appliances like toasters for damaged cords. Never leave your cooking unattended on the stove or in the oven for long periods. If a grease fire starts, put a tight-fitting lid on the pot to smother the flames. Never use water on a grease fire.

Laundry Room: Never operate a dryer without the lint filter or with the filter packed with lint. Lint is extremely flammable and can cause a fire instantly. Remember to clean the lint filter before and after each use of the dryer.

Living Room: Many living rooms have a fireplace. Always use a fire screen and keep fires to a manageable size, especially wood-burning fires. Do not overload electrical bars that supply power to TVs, lamps and other electronics as these can short circuit. Never leave burning candles unattended.

Garage: Do not store large quantities of combustible items like propane, gas, paint and oil. Always rinse oily rags and let them dry outside before storing them.

Fire Detection and Prevention Devices Help Keep Everyone Safe

There are a number of different devices that you can install in your home to detect a fire or warn you of an impending emergency.  

These include:

  • Smoke Detectors or Alarms – Smoke detectors are legally required in Alberta, and should be installed on every level of your home and outside sleeping areas.
  • Carbon Monoxide (CO) Detectors – CO detectors warn you of trace amounts of carbon monoxide in the air, which can be life-threatening.
  • Fire Extinguishers – Can be used to put out a small fire in its early stage. You should have one in the kitchen, basement and garage.
  • Home Sprinkler Systems – Sprinkler systems provide 24-hour protection and are triggered by high heat. They not only help to protect your family and home, they can also reduce your insurance premiums.

Make a Fire Safety Plan

Knowing what to do in a fire emergency will help you and your family get out safely. Involve everyone in the creation of a fire safety plan.

Start with a basic outline of the floor plan of your home to indicate areas of escape. Then:

  • Mark all windows and doors on your drawing. These will be your main points-of-exit in the event of a fire. It is also important to indicate a porch, stairways or trees that might provide an exit.
  • Mark two ways out of each bedroom. The door will usually be the main exit but if the fire is right outside the door, the window will be an alternative. The second exit must be practical and easy to use.
  • Establish a meeting place outside and away from the house where you can account for each member of the family.
  • Give each family member a copy of the safety plan and post it on the fridge.
  • Hold a fire drill. Fire drills should be performed twice a year when everyone is home to make sure everyone knows what to do.

Every member of your family should feel safe sleeping in their own beds. Through proper prevention, installing detection devices, and knowing what to do in the event of an emergency, you can help keep your family safe from harm in the home. For more tips on fire prevention, visit

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