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Tips to help extinguish home fire risks

Oct 12, 2023 | By: Anne Marie Thomas, Director of Consumer and Industry Relations, IBC
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Fire prevention is a crucial aspect of home safety that doesn’t require deep pockets or extensive time commitments. It’s easy to underestimate the numerous hazards that surround us in our home, often in plain sight.

Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) has compiled 12 fire prevention tips to help you easily identify hazards and significantly reduce the risk of fire in your home.

  1. Fire Extinguisher: Keep an A-B-C type fire extinguisher in your kitchen for quick access during emergencies. This type of extinguisher is designed to put out Class A, B and C fires:

    • Class A – For ordinary combustibles (wood, paper, cloth, etc.)

    • Class B – For flammable liquids (grease, oil, paint, solvents)

    • Class C – For live electrical equipment (electric panel, motor, wiring, etc.).

  2.  Smoke and Carbon Monoxide (CO) Alarms: Place a smoke and CO alarm outside bedrooms and on every floor. Remember to check their batteries every spring and fall.

  3. Electrical Safety: Install ground fault circuit interrupters near sinks and water sources to prevent electric shocks. Ensure your fuses or circuit breakers work properly. If your home has aluminum wiring, have a licensed electrician periodically inspect the electrical connections.

  4. Safe Lighting: To prevent a light fixture from overheating, ensure you never install a light bulb with a higher wattage than indicated.

  5. Chimney and Flue Care: Regularly inspect and clean chimney flues, especially if you use oil, coal or wood-burning appliances.

  6. Attic and Garage Maintenance: Keep your attic tidy and clutter-free to reduce fire hazards. Ensure there’s a fire-resistant, self-closing door separating your living area from your garage. Ensure light fixtures are properly wired and controlled by a switch.

  7. Heating System Maintenance: Have your heating boiler or furnace inspected and cleaned regularly. Don’t block air vents or dampers. If you have an oil tank, get it inspected periodically.

  8. Extension Cord Caution: Avoid excessive use of extension cords, and never run them under rugs or carpets.

  9. Safe Cooking: Keep pot handles turned inward while cooking, and regularly remove greasy build-up from the range hood and filters.

  10. Candle and Appliance Safety: Never leave lighted candles unattended or burning overnight. Never leave a clothing iron or hair straightener unattended when it is powered on. Remove excess lint from your clothes dryer lint trap and keep the exhaust vent clean.

  11. Smoking Safety: If you smoke, do so outside and away from the home. Dispose of ashes and butts safely. Securely store matches and lighters away from children.

  12. Wildfire Preparation: If you live in a wildfire-prone area, clear dry leaves and debris from wood decks and the exterior walls of your home, especially if you have wood or vinyl siding.

For more information on how to keep your home and loved ones safe from fire risks, review IBC’s Fire and Wildfire Protection resources.

About This Author

Anne Marie Thomas has over 25 years of experience in the insurance industry. She has worked for some of Canada's largest insurance companies and has extensive underwriting and management experience in Personal and Commercial Lines. She was also a licenced personal and commercial insurance broker. Anne Marie has many years of experience as an insurance spokesperson in television, radio, print and social media.