Fire safety tips
Fires happen quickly. Although fires are unpredictable, here are a few tips to help prevent them.
For more information about fire prevention, please call Montréal’s fire department at (514) 280-2520, Monday to Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
- Don’t overload your circuits by using plug-type multiple outlets.
- Instead, use a power bar if you need to plug in several appliances.
- Never place power bars or extension cords under carpets.
- If you are using extension cords, make sure they have been approved. Never use them for a long period of time.
- Never tie knots in extension cords.
- Replace damaged extension cords promptly.
- Never use more amperage than your circuits can provide.
- Have an electrician repair and install electrical fixtures.
- Never use electrical appliances near water.
Smoke detectors are an essential household item. They are cheap and easy to install. They quickly alert occupants when smoke is present in the dwelling, allowing them to react swiftly, which can save lives and reduce property damage during a fire. Follow these guidelines to ensure the effectiveness of your smoke detector.
- Install one smoke detector per floor, on the ceiling or walls. It is also recommended that you install a smoke detector in bedrooms where occupants sleep with the door closed.
- Make sure your smoke detectors bear the ULC logo, which certifies the detector’s compliance with the Underwriters Laboratories of Canada’s standards.
- Check batteries once a month, using the test button.
- Change the batteries when you set your clocks forward or back in the spring and fall, or if the detector begins beeping intermittently, which means that the batteries are getting low.
- Never take the batteries out of a smoke detector.
- Never use rechargeable batteries in a smoke detector.
- Replace your smoke detector every ten years. Use the lifespan on the unit as a guideline. If your smoke detector is damaged, replace it immediately.
- Lightly vacuum the outside of the unit and inside the battery case at least once a year.
- Do not open the unit itself.
- If your smoke detector is plugged into an electrical circuit, make sure it has a backup battery in case the power goes out.
- Never paint a smoke detector.
- Building and homeowners must provide the first smoke detector (including the batteries).
- Tenants are responsible for maintenance of their smoke detector.
For specific information about the type of building you live in, please call the Service de sécurité incendie at 514-280-2520, Monday to Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
In nice weather, many people enjoy cooking out. However, grills do increase the risk of fires. Here are some tips for safe barbecuing:
Two types of grills are allowed: gas grills and charcoal grills.
Which ever type of grill you use, must be placed at least 60 centimetres (12 inches) away from doors and windows and must never obstruct an exit.
Always use your grill outside.
If using a gas grill, propane tanks must be stored outside and must be visible at all times.
If using a charcoal grill, a few more rules apply:
- Charcoal grills should be placed on a fireproof surface.
- Always have water close by.
- After use, coals should be transferred to a metal container for at least two days. You can also extinguish coals with water. Make sure they have been fully extinguished before disposing of them.
Whether you use candles for decoration or during a power outage, they are more dangerous than they may seem.
- Never leave candles burning without adult supervision.
- Keep candles away from flammable products and out of the reach of children.
- Place candles on stable surfaces and use safe candleholders.
- Don’t walk around with lit candles.
- Make sure candles are extinguished before throwing them away. Run water over the wick to reduce the risk of fire.
- Don’t use candles that have burned lower than 5 centimetres away from the base.
Heating is of utmost importance during a long-term power outage. However, certain precautions must be taken.
- Only use qualified appliances as auxiliary sources of heating.
- Keep heating sources at least one metre away from flammable objects, such as furniture and walls.
- Keep a portable fire extinguisher close at hand.
To find out which appliances are qualified and specific regulations for your auxiliary heating system, please contact the Service de sécurité incendie at 514-280-2520, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Carbon monoxide detectors
Carbon monoxide detectors are very useful for certain types of dwellings.
- Carbon monoxide detectors are strongly recommended for houses with a garage that leads into the house.
- Install the detector according to the manufacturer’s directions.
- Remember, a carbon monoxide detector is not a substitute for a smoke detector.
When a fire breaks out, it is very difficult to contain it. An extinguisher is the most effective way to control small fires, and can help you avoid a worst-case scenario.
- A 10-pound ABC dry powder extinguisher is the very least you should consider buying. The 2:A-10:BC extinguisher is strongly recommended.
- Place your extinguisher on the wall, near an exit.
- Check your extinguisher regularly to make sure everything is in working order (cylinder, pipe, pin…)
- Refill your extinguisher each time you use it, even if only a small part of its capacity was used.
- Have your extinguisher checked every six years by a specialist.
Each type of dwelling has specific regulations for extinguishers. For more information, please contact Montréal’s fire department at (514) 280-2520, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Cooking can become such a routine task that we forget that fire safety rules are a very important part of preparing food.
- Never leave dishes unattended on a burner or in the oven.
- Establish rules for using the stove and microwave with your children. When kids get in from school, they sometimes want to try their hand in the kitchen, and without fire safety rules, it can be a recipe for disaster.
- Make sure pots, pans and baking dishes are large enough to hold the amount of food you’re preparing.
- If a pot catches fire, cover it with its lid and turn off the burner. Do not pour water on the pot and do not try to move it to the sink.
- For frying, only use a temperature-controlled deep fryer.
- Don’t wear billowy garments while cooking.
- Keep flammable objects (tea towels, napkins, plastic utensils, etc.) well away from the stove.
- Never cook while under the influence of alcohol.
Tobacco and fires
Putting out a cigarette is practically an automatic gesture for smokers, but there are some precautions to take so that the only thing burning is the cigarette.
- Smoke in bed
- Smoke lying down
- Leave a lit cigarette unattended
- Empty an ashtray into the garbage can just after putting out a cigarette
- Smoke near flammable products
A few prevention tips:
- Set aside a room for smoking, such as the kitchen, where there are few flammable objects. The living room and bedroom present the greatest risks, because there are more textiles in these rooms.
- Keep matches and lighters out of the reach of children.
- Educate your children about the dangers of fire.
When a fire breaks out, you need to get out of the building as quickly as possible. The best way to do this is to know the procedure ahead of time. Don’t wait for a fire to break out before developing an evacuation plan.
- Draw a map of your home with the help of all occupants, including the children.
- Plan for two exits per room, if possible.
- Determine which paths to take in order to evacuate the house safely.
- Mark the location of smoke detectors and portable extinguishers on the map.
- Determine a way to evacuate children and elderly or handicapped occupants.
- Decide on a meeting place, preferably in front of the house.
- Teach your children and caretakers to dial 9-1-1 if there is an emergency.
- Maintain exits in good condition and keep them free of obstructions at all time.
- Develop a backup plan in case your first plan will not work.
- Are you a tenant? Ask your landlord about his evacuation plan. If he doesn’t have one, strongly encourage him to develop one as quickly as possible.
- Touch the door with the back of your hand before opening it. If the door is warm, use another exit.
- Alert the other occupants when evacuating the building.
- Go down on all floors and crawl under the smoke to keep away from inhaling toxic gases.
- If your clothes catches on fire, stop, drop and roll around on the ground to put out the flames.
- You must all gather at the predetermined meeting place, make sure everyone is there.
- Ask someone to call the fire department (9-1-1).
- Do not go back inside to save a person, an animal or retrieve personal belongings. Wait for the firemen to arrive.
Persons with reduced mobility
If you are a person with reduced mobility because of your age or a visual, auditory or physical handicap, and are concerned about evacuation in the event of an emergency, the Service de sécurité incendie can help. The fire department has a computerized program that can locate and evacuate a person with reduced mobility.
For more information, or to register for this free service, call (514) 872-3775.
Flammable or dangerous products
Many commonly used products, such as gasoline and cleaning products, are a fire hazard. Here are some ways to reduce the risks they represent:
- Keep products out of the reach of children.
- Keep products away from heat.
- Never store flammable products on balconies.
- Never store bottles of gas or propane tanks indoors.
- Wait for the hazardous household waste collection to dispose of such products. In Saint-Léonard, this collection takes place once in the spring and once in the fall. For more information, call 514-328-8400.
- Sécurité publique Québec
- Le Conseil public du commissaire des incendies sur la sécurité-incendie
- Service de sécurité incendie de Montréal