Fire Safety Tips Every Homeowner Should Know
Household fires can be devastating, causing significant damage, destroying valuable possessions and claiming many lives each year. The most common cause of kitchen fires is from cooking with oil or grease - this type of fire is the fastest-spreading and most destructive type of house fire.
Electrical fires due to faulty wiring are also a common cause of house fires. Help keep your family, home and your valuable possessions safe by following these essential tips:
In the Kitchen
- Never leave cooking unattended.
- Keep children away when you are cooking.
- Do not wear loose-fitting clothing as it could catch on pot handles and catch fire.
- Don't use water to extinguish a grease or oil fire as this will make the flames spread.
- Smother a grease or oil fire by sliding a lid over the top of the pan. Turn off the burner as soon as you’re finished cooking.
- Clean the stove hood exhaust, vents and grease traps frequently.
- Turn pot handles inward to reduce the risk of accidentally overturning the pot and to prevent children from grabbing it.
- Keep your cooking area free of clutter and combustible items (towels, rags, utensils, etc.).
- Wear oven mitts when removing cooking containers to avoid serious burns.
Deep Fryers and Turkey Fryers
- Heat cooking oil slowly and check the temperature frequently. If oil is heated past 350°F, the vapours from the oil can ignite causing serious damage or injury.
- Never leave the fryer unattended and keep children away from it. Turn it off as soon as you finish cooking.
- Keep fryers away from walls, fences, garages and other structures. Make sure they are used on a flat surface to avoid tipping.
- Do not overfill fryers. Leave plenty of room at the top to prevent accidental spills.
- Never use turkey fryers indoors.
- Thaw your turkey for 24 to 48 hours before placing it in the fryer; hand-dry the turkey to make sure no moisture remains.
- Use thermostatically-controlled electric skillets rather than a conventional deep fryer to reduce burns and fire hazards.
- Don't plug too many appliances into one outlet.
- Make sure fuses and circuit breakers are working properly. Don't use a fuse or breaker rated at more than the capacity of the circuit.
- Use extension cords that are rated appropriately for your appliances. They should have a recognized seal of approval on electrical appliances and cords - usually Canadian Standards Association (CSA) or Underwriters' Laboratories of Canada (ULC).
- Don't run extension cords under rugs or furniture and don't hang cords from nails. Never plug an extension cord into another extension cord.
- Never use water to extinguish electrical fires, since there is a high risk of electrocution.
- Don't exceed the maximum bulb wattage specified by the maker of any lighting equipment.
Smoke Detectors and Fire Extinguishers
- Install smoke detectors on every floor of your home.
- Test smoke detectors regularly and change batteries at least twice a year.
- Keep a fire extinguisher on each floor and learn how to use them. Ask your dealer how to have your extinguisher serviced and inspected.
- Develop a fire evacuation plan and hold regular fire drills with all members of the family.
- Ensure everyone knows the Stop, Drop and Roll drill in case clothing catches on fire.
- Close doors to slow the spread of smoke and flames.
Don't wait for disaster to strike! Speak to an Allstate insurance agent on how to best protect your house and your precious belongings against fire hazards.
Sources: The Allstate Corporation, the Insurance Bureau of Canada