Fire Prevention Archives - Code Compliance


Fireplace & Wood Stove Safety

December 1, 2015

Many of us today use solid fuel-fired appliances as a primary heat sources in our homes. Unfortunately, many people are unaware of the fire risks when heating with solid fuels. Heating fires account for 36% of residential home fires in rural areas every year. Often these fires are due to creosote buildup in chimneys and fluepipes. All home heating systems require regular maintenance to function safely and efficiently.

Keep Fireplaces and Wood Stoves Clean

  • Have your chimney or wood stove inspected and cleaned annually by a certified chimney specialist.
  • Clear the area around the hearth of debris, decorations and combustible materials.
  • Make sure the fire gets enough air to ensure complete combustion and keep creosote from building up in the chimney. Otherwise creosote buildup could lead to a chimney fire.
  • Ensure that the appliance is (or was) installed by a WETT certified technician or have it inspected.

Safely Burn Fuels

  • Never use flammable liquids to start a fire.
  • Use only seasoned hardwood. Soft, moist wood accelerates creosote buildup. In pellet stoves, burn only dry, seasoned wood pellets.
  • Build small fires that burn completely and produce less smoke.
  • Never burn cardboard boxes, trash or debris in your fireplace or wood stove.
  • When building a fire, place logs at the rear of the fireplace on an adequate supporting grate.
  • Never leave a fire in the fireplace unattended. Extinguish the fire before going to bed or leaving the house.
  • Allow ashes to cool before disposing of them. Place ashes in a tightly covered metal container and keep the ash container at least 10 feet away from your home and any other nearby buildings. Never empty the ash directly into a trash can. Douse and saturate the ashes with water.

Clothes Dryer Safety Tips

November 1, 2015

A leading cause of dryer fires in homes is the lack of dryer maintenance. Homeowners are reminded to take the following precautions:

Installation

  • Have your dryer installed and serviced by a professional.
  • If you are installing your own dryer, follow the manufacturer’s instructions before installing the dryer vent. Determine the straightest and most direct venting path to the outdoors to reduce the likelihood of lint accumulation in bends or elbows.
  • Use rigid or flexible metal ducting for venting to the outdoors. Plastic or metal foil ducts are more prone to kinking, sagging and crushing, which leads to lint build-up. Plastic ducting is also more prone to ignition and melting.
  • Clothes dryers located in closet-type spaces or totally enclosed rooms (e.g. in apartments) should have sufficient incoming air for proper operation (see manufacturer’s instructions).

Always:

  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding the safe use of the dryer.
  • Inspect and clean the lint screen after each load of laundry. The build-up of lint can lead to a fire. Regularly remove lint from metal ducts and exhaust vents. The inside of the dryer cabinet should be cleaned as per manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Regularly inspect the air exhaust to ensure it is not restricted and the outdoor vent flap opens when the dryer is operating.
  • Turn the dryer off if you leave home or when you go to bed.
  • Keep the area around the dryer clear of items that can burn.
  • Install a carbon monoxide alarm in your home if using a natural gas or propane dryer.
  • Ensure there are working smoke alarms on every storey of the home and outside all sleeping areas.

Do Not:

  • Overload the dryer.
  • Exhaust the dryer indoors.
  • Dry materials or fabrics that have been saturated by chemicals, oils or gasoline (e.g. mops and towels and cloths saturated with wax, flammable solvents or vegetable oils). Even after washing, these substances can start a fire during the drying cycle.
  • Dry natural or synthetic rubber, rubber-coated sneakers, galoshes, foam pillows or any garment with foam padding (e.g. blouses with shoulder pads, bras, bicycle shorts)
  • Dry garments that have been cleaned with dry-cleaning fluid.
  • Use a dryer without a lint filter, or with a lint filter that is loose, damaged or clogged.

Dupont’s Self-Charging Smoke Alarm

September 1, 2015

Today, most homes are pre-wired for hard-wired smoke alarms usually with a battery backup.  There are countless dwelling units however with battery-only devices that go unchecked.

In many homes the battery operated smoke alarms can also be poorly positioned when installed. Dupont’s Self-Charging Smoke Alarm addresses these problems by integrating a smoke alarm with rechargeable battery in a pass-through light bulb socket.  The self-charging smoke alarm can be installed in every room if you so choose.

The Dupont Self-Charging Smoke Alarm can also be tested by flipping the light switch twice or three times to silence the alarm and reset the device.

Dupont's Smoke Alarm

Using Oxygen at Home…

June 1, 2015

If you need oxygen at home, it is important to learn how to use and take care of your equipment safely. This information will help you get the most from your oxygen treatment.

Do not light candles, lanterns, fires, and cookers or smoke while you are wearing your oxygen. There is a serious risk of fire or burns.

Oxygen is a fire hazard so follow safety measures to keep you and you’re family safe. Never smoke or let anyone else smoke while you are using oxygen. Put up “no smoking signs”, and be aware of people smoking near you if you are using your oxygen outside of your home.

Keep oxygen at least six feet (two metres) away from flames or heat sources such as gas cookers, paraffin or gas heaters, candles, cigarettes, cigars and fireplaces.

Do not use flammable products, such as cleaning fluid, paint thinner, petroleum based creams or aerosols, while you are using oxygen.

Keep a fire extinguisher at home within easy reach.

Keep oxygen cylinders upright. Make sure they do not fall over and get damaged, especially when travelling in a vehicle. Ask your supplier for a transport box.

Inform your local fire department that you have oxygen at home. They can advise you on how to keep safe.

Ensure you have smoke alarms within your home that are in working order (the local fire service can advise you and supply you with them).

If you have portable (ambulatory) oxygen, make sure you have an oxygen sticker for your car in case you are in an accident, speak to your oxygen supplier about safe transport of your oxygen.

CO Alarms Mandatory in Residential Homes Beginning Today

October 15, 2014

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Bill 77 updates the Ontario’s Fire Code requiring CO alarms near all sleeping areas and in service rooms if the dwelling is equipped with a fuel-fired appliance or an attached garage.

The alarms can be hardwired, battery-operated or plugged into the wall and will help alert families about the silent killer.

CO is odourless and colourless and mimics the same symptoms as the flu such as, nausea, headache, light-headed, and sleepiness.

More than 50 people die from carbon monoxide poisoning each year in Canada. The first Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week is November 1-8.

Fireworks and Safety…

July 1, 2014

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Before purchasing fireworks to launch at the backyard family get together on July 1st, keep in mind that hand held sparklers burn at 650 0C while water boils at 100 0C and glass melts at 480 0C.

Fireworks and sparklers may also be prohibited in your municipality so you should check with your local authority having jurisdiction.

The best way to enjoy fireworks is by attending a professional fireworks display where the fireworks are under a controlled setting and monitored by public safety officials.

The National Fire Protection Association reports that nearly 90 percent of emergency room visits involving fireworks-related injuries are caused by fireworks that consumers are permitted to use. The risk of fireworks injury is highest for children between the ages of 5 and 19 and adults between the ages of 25 and 44.

 

Safety tips include:

      • Keeping a bucket of water nearby for emergencies and for pouring on fireworks that do not go off;
      • Never try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks;
      • Be sure all people are out of range before lighting fireworks;
      • Do not light fireworks in a container (especially glass or metal containers);
      • Keep unused fireworks away from firing areas;
      • Always read the directions and warning labels on fireworks; and
      • Closely supervise children around fireworks at all times.

 

The most common cause of fireworks related injuries is people not maintaining a safe zone when they are near lit fireworks and not maintaining a water source.  

 

 

 

How to Prevent Winter Home Safety Hazards

March 1, 2014

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Unusual amounts of snowfall this winter has made it very challenging to stay on top of snow removal.  Having access to homes and workplaces obstructed by fallen snow and snow banks is vital for public safety in the event of an emergency.

Here are a few things to consider; 

  • Ensure fire hydrants are cleared of snow and are visible to responding emergency vehicles.
  • Maintain a one-metre wide fire access route to the principal face of the building.
  • During a snowstorm or at night it can be more difficult for emergency responders to locate a house number if it is covered with snow. Clear away any snow buildup to ensure your home address is always visible.
  • Clear snow away from exterior doors to allow for a quick and safe means of egress in an emergency.
  • Keep furnace and hot water combustion exhaust vents clear of snow.  Carbon monoxide (CO) can build up inside your home if the vents are blocked.
  • Having properly working CO alarms in your home can provide an early warning before this gas reaches potentially dangerous levels.
  • Prevent snow and ice from gathering on outside meters to provide access for emergency and utility workers.
  • Large buildings that are equipped with standpipe system connections on the outside of the building must be clearly visible and accessible to emergency staff at all times.

Staffing Levels in Care Occupancies, Care and Treatment Occupancies and Retirement Homes

February 1, 2014

Ontario’s Fire Code requires every care occupancy, care and treatment occupancy and retirement home to prepare and implement a fire safety plan that has been approved by the Chief Fire Official of the authority having jurisdiction.

Evacuation of residents or patients to a point of safety is the responsibility of the facility administrator and supervisory staff.  Each facility must appoint, organize and instruct the supervisory staff to carry out evacuation procedures in a fire emergency.

The primary role of fire fighters is to suppress the fire and provide rescue where needed, and therefore should not be relied upon to assist with evacuation.

 

Patients and residents requiring assistance to evacuate include persons who:

                    > are incapable of independent mobility,

                    > require assistance to use or access a mobility aid; or

                    > are incapable of following directions under emergency conditions; or

                    > are capable of self-evacuation, but not without initial assistance and direction.

 

The level of staff assistance required for occupant evacuation is directly related to the degree and nature of occupant disabilities. Facilities that house occupants with significant physical and/or cognitive impairment require a greater number of staff to assist occupants with moving to a safe location in the event of an emergency.

A care facility with a large number of residents using mobility aids also place a higher demand on supervisory staff than do similar facilities with some cognitively impaired but predominantly ambulatory residents.

Assessing staffing needs to evacuate a facility requires a systematic and coordinated approach.

Code compliance.ca has the skill and training required to assist facility management staff with establishing acceptable staffing needs to ensure that the time taken to detect or discover a fire, and to evacuate patients or residents from a room or floor area (or part of a floor area) to a point of safety, does not exceed the time available to safely evacuate in the event of a fire.

Call codecompliance.ca today at 613-861-0911 and speak to a consultant.

Sprinklers now Mandated in Care Homes for Seniors and People with Disabilities

January 1, 2014

Ontario is the first province to make automatic sprinklers mandatory in care homes for seniors, homes for people with disabilities, and vulnerable Ontarians.

Mandatory sprinklers are part of amendments to the Fire Code and Building Code that will improve fire safety in these occupancies. Other improvements include:

– Self-closing doors

– Enhanced fire inspections and staff training

– Annual validation of fire safety plans by local fire services

The amendments are based on recommendations made by the Technical Advisory Committee led by the Office of the Fire Marshal and public consultation. Helping seniors stay safe is a part of Ontario’s Action Plan for Seniors and supports the new Ontario government’s efforts to ensure a just and fair society for all.

 

QUICK FACTS

All licensed retirement homes and most private care facilities will have up to five years to install sprinklers. Some care and treatment facilities, including public long-term care homes, will have an 11 year phase-in period to coincide with redevelopment plans scheduled to be completed by 2025.

Since 1998, most newly built retirement homes in Ontario have been required to have sprinklers.

The Retirement Home Act, 2010, requires that information about whether or not a retirement home has a fire sprinkler system be publicly available.

More than 50,000 seniors live in about 700 retirement homes in Ontario.

By 2017, Ontario will be home to more people over the age of 65  than children under age 15.

Residential Garages and Solid-Fuel Heating…

November 1, 2013

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Prior to installing a solid-fuel burning appliance in a garage it must be determined how the garage is being utilized. 

Aside from cars and trucks, homeowners often store motorcycles, all-terrain-vehicles, lawnmowers, weed eaters, chainsaws and other assorted equipment that all burn fuel.  Residential garages are also often used by do-it-yourself mechanics where oil, grease, jerry cans, propane, solvents, and other flammables can be present.

Any flammable liquid that leaks or is spilled quickly evaporates, and the vapours are usually heavier than air, so they spread out at floor level.  Then all it takes is an ignition source to ignite a flash fire.

Garages that are converted into woodworking or crafting workshops are also dangerous.  Highly flammable oils and solvents are commonly used and, dust that gets kicked up into the air by cutting, planning, or sanding could be potentially explosive.

 

The CSA B365 “Installation Code for Solid-Fuel-Burning Appliances and Equipment” states;

 4.3  Hazardous Locations

An appliance shall not be installed in a location where a corrosive atmosphere, flammable gas or vapour, combustible dust, or combustible fibres might be present.  An appliance may be installed in a

(a) storage or residential garage, provided that the appliance is mounted at least 450 mm (18 in.) above floor level and protected against physical damage; or

(b) commercial repair garage or other facility used for the maintenance of equipment that might involve volatile flammable substances, provided that 

(i) the appliance is located in a room that is separated from the remainder of the building by a vapour-tight fire separation;

(ii) the room specified in item (i) is not directly accessible from the location of the volatile substances; and

(iii) all duct penetrations of the vapour-tight fire separation are located at least 2 m (6.5 ft) above the floor level.

 

The CSA B365 wording clearly prohibits a solid-fuel-burning appliance within a garage that is being used for what would be traditional vehicle storage purposes.  It is the same reason that most insurance companies will not provide coverage if a solid-fuel-burning appliance is installed within a garage.