General Safety Tips


If electrical systems and equipment are not well-maintained, they become fire hazards. Follow these safety tips to prevent electrical fires:

  • Immediately replace any electrical cords that are cracked or frayed or that get hot during use.
  • Don't overload electrical outlets or extension cords.
  • If appliances aren't working right, have them repaired by a qualified professional.
  • Disconnect any electrical device if you feel a tingle when you touch it, if it emits a burning smell, or if it blows a fuse.
  • Be sure all your electrical appliances are ULC labelled.
  • If a fuse blows or a circuit breaker trips in your home, try to find out why. Make sure the new fuse is the right size and amperage. Fuses and circuit breakers protect you; don't tamper with them.
  • If there are small children in your home, insert plastic child protector covers into electrical outlets.
  • Prevent shocks. Make sure your hands are dry and do not stand in or near water when using appliances such as hair dryers. Unplug them after use. If the inside of an appliance gets wet, have it serviced before using it again.


  • Never leave cooking unattended.
  • Keep your stove and oven clean.
  • Wear close-fitting sleeves when cooking.
  • Do not hang curtains or store things over the stove.
  • Turn pot handles inward so they can't be knocked off the stove or pulled down by small children.
  • If a grease fire starts, carefully slide a lid over the pan to smother the flames, and turn off the burner. Never pour water on a grease fire.
  • Never leave pot holders on the stove.

Sleeping Areas

The majority of fatal home fires happen while people are sleeping. So it is extremely important to install smoke alarms and to practice your fire escape plan .

  • Never smoke in bed.
  • Install smoke alarms on every level of your home (including the basement) and especially outside every sleeping area. Make sure everyone can hear and recognize the alarm's sound. If you sleep with bedroom doors closed, install alarms inside bedrooms, as well.
  • Plan and practice two escape routes from each room. If one way out leads through a window above the first floor, make sure you have a way to reach the ground safely.
  • Make sure everyone in your family knows the home escape plan, the meeting place, and the phone number of the fire department (9-1-1), which they should call from a neighbour's phone, after escaping from the building.

Basement or Garage

  • If you keep gasoline on hand, store it outside your home or in a detached garage. Keep only small quantities, and use a ULC-listed gasoline safety can.
  • Always store paint and other flammable liquids in their original labelled containers with tight-fitting lids.
  • Use and store flammable liquids well away from appliances, heaters, pilot lights, cigarettes, and other sources of heat.
  • Have your furnace checked every year by a professional.
  • Remove trash from your home. Don't store anything near the furnace or heater.
  • Never use gasoline to start a barbeque or campfire. Keep barbeques outside of homes, and away from overhangs and combustibles.
  • Before starting your lawnmower, snowblower or motorcycle, move it away from gasoline fumes. Let the motor cool before you refuel.

Living & Family Rooms

  • Use extreme caution with cigarettes! Provide large, deep ashtrays for smokers. Check for smouldering cigarettes under cushions of couches and chairs before you go to bed or leave your home.
  • Keep portable space heaters at least 1 metre (3 feet) away from anything that can burn. Always turn heaters off when you go to bed or go out. Never leave children alone in a room with a portable heater or woodstove operating.
  • Use a metal screen on your fireplace.
  • Have your chimney professionally checked once a year and cleaned when necessary.
  • Use only the correct fuel for heat: aged wood in fireplaces and woodstoves and only kerosene in kerosene heaters. Refuel a heater in a well-ventilated area, after the heater has cooled.
  • Keep lighters and matches up high, preferably in a locked cabinet, where young children can't see or reach them.
  • Make sure TVs and stereos have space around them to prevent overheating.

Prevent Fires Caused by Heating

Space Heaters

  • Space heaters need space. Keep them at least three feet away from things that can burn, such as curtains or stacks of newspaper. Always turn off heaters when leaving the room or going to bed.


  • Have a service person inspect chimneys, fireplaces, wood and coal stoves and central furnaces once a year. Have them cleaned when necessary.

Fireplaces and Wood Stoves

  • Keep things that can burn away from your fireplace and keep a glass or metal screen in front of your fireplace. Creosote logs can be used to help reduce the build-up of creosote in fireplaces. Check labels to make sure the log has been tested and approved by UL. Even if you use creosote logs, fireplaces should still be inspected by a professional each year.

Prevent Fires Caused by Candles

  • Only light candles when an adult is in the room. Do not allow children to keep candles or incense in their rooms. Always use stable, candle holders made of material that won't catch fire, such as metal, glass, etc.  Blow out candles when adults leave the room.