6 ways to prevent fires in your home 

According to Quebec’s Ministère de la Sécurité Publique, there are over 5,600 residential fires each year, 51% of which are caused by human error. In 2019, the average cost for these incidents was $95,999. Here are some best practices to adopt at home to prevent a distraction from causing major damage. 

 

1. Be careful in the kitchen 

More than one in four fires start in the kitchen, making it the most at-risk room. Keep all flammable items such as dish towels, oven mitts, cooking oils and paper towel rolls away from heat sources. Never leave your dishes unattended, turn off the burners if you have to leave the kitchen. 

2. Clean your oven and your coil elements 

Spills and food debris accumulate at the bottom of your oven and under your coil burners, where they can catch fire. Clean your oven regularly (if it has a self-cleaning feature, use it) and add burner liners to make them easier to clean.  

It’s my fault: am I covered?

While cooking, all it takes is one moment of distraction or carelessness to start a fire. If you’re at home, even if you were careless or negligent, your home insurance policy will cover the damage. If you cause a fire that occurs somewhere else (e.g., a poorly put out cigarette in a flowerpot), your liability coverage will protect you if you are held liable for the damage.  

3. Clean your dryer filter 

The lint filter in your dryer traps the lint that comes off your clothes. When this part is clogged, your dryer will run less efficiently, and air won’t circulate as well. If there’s too much accumulated lint, it could get into the heating element and catch fire. Be careful and clean this filter before each use. 

4. Install enough smoke detectors

Over one in three residential buildings don’t have working smoke detectors. The Société d’habitation du Québec wants to remind you that it’s mandatory to have at least one smoke detector per floor in your house, including the basement. A smoke detector needs to be installed in each room (or in the corridor leading to it, within 5 m of the door).  

Every month, make sure they are working properly by pressing the button until you hear a beep. Replace the batteries with each time change (in the spring and the fall) or use models with lithium batteries, which last for 10 years.  

5. Own a portable fire extinguisher 

fire extinguisher allows you to extinguish a small fire before it spreads. Choose a model with an “ABC” label, as their powder can be used to extinguish fires caused by dry combustible materials, flammable liquids and live electrical equipment. Install your fire extinguisher in a visible and accessible location near an exit and out of reach of children. 

6. Be careful if you smoke 

In its 2019 Activity Report, the fire department of the City of Québec explained that 28% of the fires in the capital were linked to smoking. Reduce the risks by never smoking where you might fall asleep and by storing your smoking supplies where children can’t reach them. Make sure to empty your ashtrays into a metal container until the ashes cool instead of emptying them directly into a trash can. Never throw your cigarette butts into gardens, flower beds, mulch or soil, which can become highly flammable in dry weather.  

 

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