Home Fire Safety


Early Detection

  1. There should be at least one (1) working smoke alarm on each floor of the house, ideally one (1) located in each sleeping unit and one (1) in each common area outside of sleeping units
  2. Test your smoke alarms regularly (once a month) and keep them clean and in good working condition
  3. Are the batteries replaced regularly (this applies to hard-wired with battery backup units too)
  4. Does the alarm have a distinct warning sound that will alert everyone in the house whether sleeping or awake. Will people with hearing impairments be alerted in the case of a fire.
  5. Smoke alarms have an expiry date and should be replaced every ten (10) years
  6. Does the home have at least one (1) working carbon monoxide alarm located near the bedrooms. Carbon monoxide alarms should be tested and maintained on the same schedule as smoke alarms.

Getting Out Alive

  1. Does the family / individual have an escape plan with at least two (2) exits from each room. The escape plan should include a safe meeting place outside of and well away from the dwelling where occupants can meet. In the case of people living in apartments, are they familiar with the correct procedures for exiting the building.
  2. The escape plan should be practiced at least two (2) times a year
  3. Do all the windows and doors on your emergency exit route function properly. Ensure windows slide open and closed easily and there are no obstructions for doors to get stuck on.
  4. Are there people with disabilities living in the house (i.e. visual, audio, mobility)
  • Will they be alerted when a smoke alarm goes off. Consider strobe light smoke alarms or bed shaker alarms.
  • Does the person have a neighbour or accountability person who can help in case of an emergency. If living in an apartment, is there a neighbour who can come check on them if an alarm sounds.
  • Is there a phone near the bed in case they need to call for help
  • Do they take any medications that make them drowsy or might otherwise affect their cognitive abilities

Lighters / Matches / Smoking / Candles

  1. Lighters and matches should be kept up high and out of reach of children
  2. Are there any smokers living in / regularly visiting the house
  3. Are suitable ashtrays provided (i.e. actual ashtray, bucket of water or sand) – planter pots or enclosed pop cans are not suitable ashtrays
  4. Is smoking only done outside or is there at least a “no smoking in bed” rule in place
  5. Smoking, candles or any open flames should be prohibited around in-home oxygen systems
  6. Are candles mounted in a sturdy safe candle holder and a safe distance (12”) away from anything that can burn
  7. Never leave lit candles or cigarettes unattended

Flammable Liquids

Gasoline, lighter fluid, charcoal lighter fluid, paint thinner, contact cement glues, rubbing alcohol, some paints, etc.

  1. Flammable liquids should be stored in a cabinet and / or not accessible to children
  2. Are flammable liquids stored in properly labelled, tightly closing, non-glass containers
  3. Are these products all stored safely away from any heat source or source of open flame, and when at all possible, stored outside or in a properly ventilated area

Electrical Hazards

  1. Extension cords should only be used for temporary purposes and unplugged when not in use
  2. Are extension cords safely routed when in use (i.e. not under carpets, rugs or across doorways where they can become a tripping hazard)
  3. Ensure all electrical cords are in good condition with no frays or cracks
  4. When buying electronics, ensure they are either CSA or ULC rated (check on older / second or third hand equipment)
  5. Kitchen small appliances should be plugged into separate outlets with no power bars as to not overload the circuit
  6. Unplug small appliances when not in use
  7. Use power bars with a built-in circuit breaker
  8. Items with rechargeable batteries should not be left plugged in the charging dock once they’re fully charged. Overcharging can damage the battery cells and cause them to rupture or ignite.

General Housekeeping

  1. Is the area free of clutter and easy to get through in case of an emergency or easy for emergency personnel to get in (i.e. can you fit a stretcher through the room if you have to)
  2. Don’t allow stacks or piles of combustible materials to build up (i.e. magazines, clothes, rags)
  3. Is the lint trap in the dryer cleared after each use
  4. Is the house address clearly visible from the street so emergency responders can locate your house as quickly as possible
  5. Do all occupants in the house know the address and nearest cross street if they have to call 911
  6. Is there at least one (1) working ABC class fire extinguisher in the house that is inspected annually
  7. Ensure all occupants living in the house know how to use a fire extinguisher – P.A.S.S Pull Pin, Aim, Squeeze, Sweep

Cooking Area

  1. The storage area above and around the stove should be kept free of flammable or combustible items
  2. Are items that might attract small children kept away from the stove area (3’ zone)
  3. Never leave the stove unattended while cooking
  4. Is there always a proper fitting pot lid kept close by to cover any pots that might flare up
  5. Is there always a set of pot holders or oven mitts kept close by while cooking
  6. It is recommended that short or tighter fitting sleeves and clothes be worn while cooking and long hair be tied back


Portable Heaters

  1. Are all portable heaters kept at least three feet (3’) away from any combustibles (i.e. upholstered furniture, drapes, bedding)
  2. Portable space heaters should only be used on the floor and placed on a level sturdy area, not in main walk ways to reduce the chance of being knocked over
  3. Does the heater have a tip over protection feature to automatically shut off if knocked over
  4. Is the heater turned off when occupants leave the house or go to sleep


  1. Is the furnace cleaned and inspected annually by a qualified professional
  2. Is the furnace area clean and uncluttered with all items being stored at least three feet (3’) away
  3. Furnace filters should be replaced regularly as specified by the manufacturer’s instructions

Wood Stoves / Fireplaces

  1. Is the chimney / piping clean and free of build up
  2. Have your stove and chimney system inspected annually by a qualified professional
  3. Does the stove sit on a non-combustible floor or floor protector
  4. Are all combustibles at least three feet (3’) away (curtains, furniture, firewood)
  5. Only proper fuel should be burned in the stove (i.e. wood pellets in a non-pellet stove)
  6. Use a proper metal container with a tight-fitting lid for ash removal / storage
  7. Does the fireplace have a sturdy screen to catch sparks and keep small children away from the direct fire