​There are many precautions you can take to prevent fires in your home. Because wildfires move quickly, are difficult to contain and are unpredictable, they pose the largest threat to homeowners who live near grasslands or heavily forested areas.​

20 Ways to Extinguish Home Fire Risks

Fire prevention is not something that requires deep pockets or a lot of time. Consider the common-sense precautions listed ​​below:

  1. Frequently inspect and clean chimney flues, particularly when burning oil, coal or wood.
  2. Use a fireplace screen to prevent sparks from hitting the floor and rugs.
  3. Do not install a bulb with a higher wattage than the maximum indicated on the fixture.
  4. Install ground-fault circuit interrupters.
  5. Keep your attic tidy. Clutter such as clothing, boxes, books, magazines and newspapers not only fuels a fire but prevents firefighters from gaining access to extinguish the flames.
  6. Install smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors outside bedrooms and on each floor of your home. Check batteries every spring and fall.
  7. Keep a fire extinguisher in your kitchen.
  8. Consider investing in a lightning rod if your home is built on an elevated or exposed site.
  9. Ensure your garage is separated from the living quarters by a fire-resistant, self-closing door.
  10. Ensure your garage has properly wired light fixtures that are controlled by a switch rather than makeshift installations that use an extension cord.
  11. Do not store gasoline, solvents, waste or other flammable materials near your furnace or in your garage. Store them in an outbuilding away from your home.
  12. Ensure your fuses and circuit breakers work properly. Inspect aluminum wiring periodically. Consider hiring an electrician to review your wiring.
  13. If your home has a heating boiler, have it inspected and cleaned frequently. Do not block the air vent or damper. If your home has an oil tank, have it periodically inspected to ensure it is airtight so fuel oil does not overflow or leak.
  14. Remove excess lint from the lint trap of your clothes dryer and keep the exhaust vent clean.
  15. Don’t let dry leaves and debris collect near the outside walls of your home, particularly if you have wood or vinyl siding.
  16. Have enough electrical outlets to avoid the excessive use of extension cords. If an extension cord is needed, don’t run it under a rug.
  17. When cooking: Keep pot handles turned inward over the stove. Remove greasy build-up from the range hood and the filters. Keep curtains pulled away from any heating elements on the stove.
  18. Do not leave lighted candles unattended or burning overnight.
  19. Do not leave a clothing iron or hair straightening iron unattended.
  20. Never smoke in bed. Better yet, always smoke outside and away from the home. Be sure to securely store matches and lighters away from children.

Additional Resources​​

​Have a Family Conversation about Emergencies​

Discuss with your household a plan to get out of your home safely and quickly in an emergency. Learn basic fire safety techniques and have a plan in the event that household members are separated during an evacuation. Put together a disaster safety kit and ensure everyone knows where to find it. 

If you live in a grasslands region or a heavily forested area, your fire risk is elevated.

In the event of a fire:

  1. Plan your exit. Follow your escape plan and go to a safe meeting place. When you get to the prearranged location, make sure everyone is accounted for. Call 911.
  2. Get out and stay out. If you smell smoke or see flames, get everyone out of the building immediately. Get down on your knees and crawl to an exit. During a fire, smoke rises and the air is cleaner near the floor. Close doors to slow the spread of smoke and flames.

When the Smoke Clears . . . What’s Covered?

Virtually every home insurance policy covers damage caused by fire, even if the fire began on a neighbouring property, as long as the fire was not started intentionally. 

Damage to vehicles from fire or water is usually covered if comprehensive or all perils coverage car insurance was purchased. As this coverage is not mandatory, talk to your insurance representative to ensure that you have appropriate insurance coverage.  

In certain circumstances, homeowners who are unable to return home as a result of insurable damage are entitled to additional living expenses.

Tips for Starting the Claim Process

  • Call your insurance representative or company. Most insurers have a 24-hour claims service. Be as detailed as possible when providing information.
  • List all damaged or destroyed items. If possible, assemble proofs of purchase, photos, receipts and warranties. Take photos of damage incurred and keep damaged items, unless they pose a health hazard.
  • Keep all receipts related to cleanup and living expenses if you’ve been displaced. Ask your insurance representative about what expenses you may entitled to and for what period of time.