Seasonal Fire & Life Safety
- Clean your basement and garage of material that could fuel a fire.
- Clean and test your smoke alarms.
- Check your electrical fuse box and make sure you have the proper fuses.
- Keep outdoor debris away from your house.
- Compost your grass clippings away from the house, not under the deck.
- Check your propane barbeque hose for leaks and cracks.
- Use and store fuel with care.
- Store pool chemicals in a safe place, as per manufacturer's instructions.
- Don't store propane within your home or garage.
Please Note: NO OPEN BURNING of leaves or debris is permitted within the City of Brantford. Should you have any further questions, please contact the Fire Prevention Department at 519-752-0540. For further information regarding spring clean-up, please see the City of Brantford Engineering Department's Solid Waste Collection Calendar.
Dispose of all household items, such as empty boxes, stacks of newspapers and magazines, and any other items that are flammable and organize your basement, workshop or garage to reduce the fire hazard.
- If you store gasoline, ensure you keep it outside in a shed or detached garage.
- Keep only a small quantity in a tightly sealed and properly marked approved container.
- Never store paint or other flammable liquids near your furnace or hot water heater.
- Have your furnace and chimney inspected at least once a year by a qualified professional.
- Remove all 'trash' from your home and always keep at least 3 feet clear around your furnace and hot water heater.
- Never store propane cylinders - like the one on your barbeque, indoors!
- When choosing a costume, stay away from billowing or long trailing fabric. If you are making your own costume, choose material that won't easily ignite if it comes into contact with heat or flame. Look for costumes, beards and wigs labelled "Flame-Resistant" -- nylon or heavyweight polyester costumes are best. Flame Resistant does not mean 'fire proof'.
- Tell children to stay away from open flames. Be sure they know how to stop, drop and roll if their clothing catches fire.
- Provide children with flashlights for trick or treating.
- Children should stay in well lit areas and only trick or treat at homes with lights on and remind them never to go inside homes or cars.
- Instead of real candles, use flashlights or battery operated candles for jack-o-lanterns.
- Dried flowers, cornstalks and crepe paper are highly flammable. Keep these and other decorations well away from all open flames and heat sources, including light bulbs and heaters.
- Keep exits clear of decorations, make sure nothing is blocking the escape routes.
Woodstove and Chimney Safety
Every season you should have your chimney inspected by a qualified professional. The Ministry of Natural Resources and CMHC has produced an information booklet entitled - "A Guide to Residential Wood Heating." It is an extremely informative publication dealing with a wide variety of wood heating subjects. To obtain a copy, please stop by the Brantford Fire Department or online at Energy Publications Canada.
If you plan to install a new woodstove, please check with the Brantford Building Department at 519-759-4150 as a Building Permit maybe be required.
Christmas Tree Care and Safety
A few things to remember when setting up your tree:
- When you bring the tree into the house for decorating, make another fresh cut across the trunk about an inch from the original cut. Use a tree stand that holds plenty of water.
- Trees are thirsty. They may drink up to four litres of water per day, so be sure to check daily and supply fresh water as needed. A stand which holds at least four litres of water is recommended. If you allow the water level to drop below the bottom of the tree, a seal will form just as it does on a cut flower and a new cut will be necessary.
- A Christmas tree with a high moisture content is less flammable.
- Place you tree away from fireplaces, radiators, television sets and other sources of heat. Turn off the Christmas tree lights when you leave the house or before you retire at night.
While you are enjoy the festivities of the season, remember the following safety tips:
- Take care when burning candles. Be sure they are kept well away from decorations or other combustibles. Don't leave children unattended in a room with lit candles, and always keep candles, as well as matches and lighters up high and out of the reach of children.
- Provide guests with large deep ashtrays and check them frequently and after the party. Remember to check inside and under upholstery and in trash cans for cigarette butts that could be smoldering. Empty ashtrays into metal containers.
- Should a fire occur in a pot, NEVER try and move the pot, instead smother the flames by covering with a lid. Turn off the heat immediately. Baking soda can be used on small fires if no lid is available. Never use flour or salt, it can be explosive. Never turn on the overhead fan, as this could spread the fire. NEVER THROW WATER ON A GREASE FIRE!
- Gift wrappings, boxes, cartons and other types of packing must not be burned in the fireplace. They burn too rapidly and generate far too much heat for that type of structure.
- Don't hang Christmas stockings from the fireplace mantel when the fireplace is in use.
- Always use a screen in front of the fireplace to protect against flying sparks.
- Never use gasoline or any other flammable liquids to start a fire. Use only seasoned and dried wood.
- Do not use pressure treated wood.
- Clean the ashes regularly. Place the ashes in a metal container and store outside away from combustible or flammable materials.
- Have your chimney professionally inspected and cleaned at least once a year, prior to the start of the heating season. Creosote, a chemical substance that forms when wood burns, builds up in chimneys and can cause a chimney fire if not properly cleaned.
- Always protect your home and your family by using a sturdy screen in front of your fireplace.
- Place all space heaters at least 36 inches away from flammable materials, including wallpaper, bedding, clothing, pets, and people.
- Do not leave space heaters unattended or in use while sleeping.
- Never place articles for drying over space heaters.
- Check electrical space heaters for fraying or splitting wires and overheating.
- Let a professional repair person correct all problems before operating the space heater.
- Always use the proper fuel for liquid fueled heaters. The wrong fuel could burn hotter than the equipment's design limits.
- Be sure space heaters are properly vented. Refill them in well-ventilated areas and only when they are cool.
- All space heaters should bear the label of an independent testing laboratory.
- Be sure the wood stove bears the label of a recognized testing laboratory and meets local fire codes.
- Inspect all chimney connections and chimney flues each heating season and clean them periodically.
- Burn only wood - NEVER burn firelogs in a woodstove.
- Be sure the surrounding floor and walls are protected properly - call the Fire Prevention Bureau should you have any questions, 519-752-0540.
- Place ashes ONLY in a metal container and store outside away from combustible or flammable materials.
- Examine holiday light strings each year. Discard any with frayed cords, cracked lamp holders or loose connections.
- Unplug light strings before replacing bulbs. Check to ensure replacement bulbs match the voltage and wattage of the original bulb.
- Ensure that bulb reflectors are the right size for the light string.
- Look for the CSA mark on light strings, extension cords and electrical decorations.
- Always turn off Christmas lights when you leave the house unattended or when going to bed.
- Store lights and decorations in the original packaging, as it likely contains manufacturer's instructions regarding replacement bulbs and details for proper use of the product.
- Before working with outdoor wiring, turn off the electricity to the supply outlet and unplug the connection.
- Ensure that light strings, cords, spotlights and floodlights are CSA-certified and marked for outdoor use or wet locations.
- When hanging lights outdoors, keep electrical connectors above ground and out of puddles and snow, as well as away from metal eaves troughs.
- Use insulated fasteners rather than metal nails or tacks to hold light strings in place.
- To prevent moisture from entering bulb sockets, turn the bulbs to face the ground if possible.
- Whenever possible, connect all outdoor lighting into receptacles protected by weatherproof ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI). A GFCI can provide protection from electric shock as it senses leakage current to ground and cuts the electrical power immediately.