Public Education, Fire Prevention, and Awareness

In addition to providing emergency response services, Lambton Shores Fire and Emergency Services (LSFES) is dedicated to providing public education and fire prevention services to the community.

We hope the information on this page can serve as a starting point for those looking to learn more about fire prevention and safety. In addition to the information on this page, LSFES leads several public awareness campaigns throughout the year, such as Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week and Fire Prevention Week.

Home Fire Safety

Home fire safety is an incredibly important responsibility throughout the year. Preparing for a potential fire with a home escape plan is a very important first step, but it's also important to know what to do to prevent kitchen, electrical, or heating equipment fires.

We've included some home fire safety information below to help keep you and your family safe.

Smoke Alarms

In most cases, you may have less than 60 seconds to escape from a fire. Only working smoke alarms can give you the early warning that you need to leave your home safely. It's not only smart to have working smoke alarms in your home, it is also the law in Ontario.

In accordance with Ontario law, you must have a working smoke alarm:

  1. Outside all sleeping areas
  2. On every storey of your home

In addition to the above, it is also recommended that you install smoke alarms inside every bedroom.

Test your alarms

Installing smoke alarms is only one step. It's also important to regularly test your smoke alarms. It's recommended that smoke alarms be tested monthly, and batteries should be changed at least once a year or when you hear the low-battery warning chirps. Always follow the manufacturer's instructions.

Carbon Monoxide Alarms

Carbon Monoxide (CO is known as "the silent killer" because it is a poisonous gas that you cannot see, smell, or taste. If your home contains a fuel burning appliance, fireplace, or attached garage, a CO alarm is required to be installed adjacent to each sleeping area in the house.

For the best protection, it is recommended that CO alarms also be installed in other levels and/or areas of the home that are in proximity to a CO source, subject to the distance limits provided in the product's instruction manual. You should also test your CO detectors monthly and change batteries at least once per year.

Not sure if your home has a CO source? Most homes have four to six appliances that can create CO, including:

  • Fireplaces
  • Furnaces
  • Gas dryers
  • Portable fuel heaters
  • Stoves
  • Water heaters
  • Solid fuel burning appliances (i.e., wood stoves)

A working CO detector gives warning of any CO in the home. If your CO alarm goes off, or if anyone shows symptoms of CO poisoning, leave your home right away and call 9-1-1. Symptoms of CO poisoning can include:

  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Shortness of breath
Home Escape Plan

Working smoke alarms will let you know there is fire in your home, but what comes next? A home escape plan will help you and your family get out safely. Take a few moments to develop your home escape plan using the following steps:

  • Draw a floor plan of your home
  • Highlight all possible emergency exits
  • Identify two ways out of every room
  • Identify who will help young children, the elderly, people with disabilities, and other vulnerable people in the home to escape
  • Choose a meeting place outdoors, like a tree or neighbour's house, that is a safe distance away
  • Call 9-1-1 once safely outside

Once you develop a home escape plan, it's important to ensure every member of your family know the plan and to practice it twice a year.

Kitchen and Cooking Safety Tips

Did you know that unattended cooking is the leading cause of home fires? These fires can happen quickly, but there are things you can do to stop it from happening:

  • Stay in the kitchen while you are cooking
  • Keep cooking areas clear of combustibles (oven mitts, towels, packaging)
  • Keep children and pets away from cooking areas
  • Always keep oven mitts and a proper fitting lid within reach

What do you do if a fire starts in your kitchen?

If a fire starts on the stove:

  • Put on an oven mitt and carefully slide the lid over the pot or pan
  • Turn off the burner when the flames are no longer coming out from the pan
  • Do not move the pot
  • Keep the lid on until it is completely cool
  • Remember: never pour water on a grease fire

If a fire starts in the oven or microwave:

  • Turn off the power and keep the door closed
  • Have the oven serviced before you use it again

If you follow the tips above and the fire does not go out... leave the house immediately and call 9-1-1

Electrical Fires

Here are some things to keep in mind when it comes to preventing electrical fires:

  • Air conditioners and other heavy appliances should be plugged directly into an outlet
  • Extension cords should only be used as a temporary wiring solution. If permanent wiring is required, have more outlets installed by a licensed electrician
  • Do not link extension cords together - use an extension cord that is long enough to get the job done
  • Check cords for damage, such as fraying or nicks. If the cord is damaged in any way, discard it and do not use it - a damaged cord can expose wires and result in possible shock or fire hazard
  • Avoid running cords under rugs, which can lead to damaged cords and fire
  • Avoid using multi-plug adapters that can overload a circuit. If additional outlets are required, have them installed by a licensed electrician
  • All outlets near water should be ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) - a GFCI provides split-second electrical protection
  • When replacing a fuse, make sure it is the correct amperage - substituting a higher amp fuse where a smaller one is required can pose a fire hazard
Heating and Equipment Safety

We all need to heat our homes, but heating and heating equipment can pose a significant fire hazard if proper prevention efforts are ignored. Please remember the tips below to keep you and your family safe:

  • Have your heating system and chimneys inspected and cleaned annually by a qualified service technician
  • Make sure all outside heating vents are not blocked with things like snow, ice, or animal nests
  • Woodstoves, fireplaces, and fireplace inserts need to be installed by a qualified installer. Look for someone with a WETT (Wood Energy Technical Training) certification
  • Always use a fire screen around the fireplace
  • Allow ashes from your woodstove or fireplace to cool before emptying them into a metal container (with a tight-fitting lid). Always keep the container outside
  • Keep children and pets away form glass doors on a woodstove or fireplace - these doors will get very hot and cause burns if touched
Seasonal Safety Tips
Christmas Tree Safety
  • Choose a fresh tree (tip: a fresh tree will have green needles that do not fall off when touched)
  • Before placing the tree in the stand, cut 5cm (2 inches) from the base of the trunk
  • Fill the holder with water as soon as you set up your tree and check it every day - the holder must always have water
  • Trees need a lot of water - a 6ft tree will need about 4L of water per day
  • Always keep trees at least one metre (3 feet) away from any heat source (fireplace, radiator, candle, heat vent, lights)
  • If purchasing an artificial tree, make sure it is labelled "fire resistant" - this label does not mean it won't catch fire, but it does mean it can resist burning and should extinguish quickly
  • Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving the house or going to bed
  • If your tree dries out, get rid of it. Dried-out trees are a serious fire hazard and shout not be left in the home, garage, or placed against the home

Holiday Decorating

  • Always choose decorations that are flame resistant
  • Keep lit candles away from decorations and use battery-operated candles when possible
  • Use lights according to manufacturing instructions (e.g., outdoor lights outside, indoor lights inside)
  • Discard any lights with damaged or frayed cords
  • If you are leaving the house or going to bed, turn off your outdoor Christmas lights
  • Ensure your lights and extension cords are approved for use in Ontario and are rated for where you're planning to use them (i.e., outdoors or indoors)
  • Never use nails to hang lights - use clips so you avoid damaging the cords
Home Fire Safety Fact Sheets
Fire Prevention Week: October 9 to 15, 2022

Each year, Lambton Shores Fire and Emergency Services marks Fire Prevention Week with a comprehensive public awareness campaign.

Learn more about the 2022 Fire Prevention Week campaign

Holiday Fire Safety Campaign

Each year, Lambton Shores Fire and Emergency Services marks the holiday season with the 12 Days of Holiday Fire Safety campaign.

Learn more about the "12 Days of Holiday Fire Safety" campaign.

Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week: November 1 to 7

Each year, Lambton Shores Fire and Emergency Services marks Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week with a comprehensive public awareness campaign.

Learn more about Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week.

National Drowning Prevention Week

The Lifesaving Society designates the third week in July as National Drowning Prevention Week, a recognition week aimed at water safety and drowning prevention.

Learn more about National Drowning Prevention Week

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