If there is a possibility that a wildfire will effect your home, listen to a battery-powered radio for reports and evacuation information.
Home fires are one of the most common types of emergencies. As well as being very dangerous, a fire can leave you homeless and without possessions.
The following are suggestions from various fire departments regarding fire prevention and preparation.
What should I do to protect my home from fires?
- Install and maintain smoke alarms as they are your main warning of a fire.
- Develop and practice an escape plan which includes a safe meeting place outside of the home.
- Ensure children know what to do and not to hide if there is a fire.
- Install A-B-C type extinguishers in the home for use on very small fires (for example, stove top) and read the operation guidelines carefully prior to installation.
What should I do if my home is on fire?
- If you spot a fire, or if the smoke alarm wakes you up, shout to wake everyone else up.
- Follow your escape plan.
- Close any open doors to slow the spread of the fire.
- Only open the doors you need to go through to escape.
- Before opening doors, check the temperature of the door with the back of your hand. If a door is warm, don’t open it; the fire is on the other side. In this situation, block the bottom of the door, open a window a little bit for fresh air, and make sure firefighters can see you when they arrive.
- If there is a lot of smoke, crawl along the floor as the air will be cleanest there.
- Once everyone has escaped from the building, use a mobile phone, or a neighbour’s phone to call 911.
- Don’t go back into the building.
- Find somewhere safe to wait near the building, and give the firefighters as much information as possible about the fire and the building.
For more information, please contact your local fire department.
What is the danger from a wildfire?
Canadians experience almost 8,000 wildfires each year (Ministry of Natural Resources). The average area burned in Canada each year due to wildfires is 2.5 million hectares. Wildfires are also known as forest fires, brush fires, bush fires, and grass fires.
Wildfires and their smoke are extremely dangerous. The fire can move faster than a person can run and the smoke contains particulate matter such as soot, smoke, and ash that can release toxic chemicals. Respiratory damage may result from breathing in smoke and fumes. The smallest of these particles can enter deep into the lungs, access the bloodstream, and affect the heart.
What should I do if there is the possibility that a wildfire may affect my home?
Here are some proactive strategies to fire proof the surroundings of your home, camp, cottage, or trailer before a fire strikes. These strategies can provide valuable time in the event of an emergency, slow a fire, or help redirect it.
- Ensure that you have a family plan (Ministry of Community Safety & Correctional Services) for escape routes and an agreed upon location to meet should family members become separated during an evacuation.
- Listen to a battery-powered radio for reports and evacuation information. When a wildfire is anticipated, utility companies may turn off gas and electricity.
- If there is any possibility of freezing weather, shut water off so pipes do not freeze.
- Follow the instructions of local officials.
If it is safe, and there is time before the fire arrives, consider taking the following action:
- Close all windows and doors in the house.
- Put pets in one room with a window so they can be quickly evacuated.
- Cover vents, windows, and other openings of the house with duct tape and/or pre-cut pieces of plywood if available. Turn off the furnace or air conditioner, disconnect garage door openers, close windows, and seal the attic.
- Ensure all family members are familiar with the technique of “STOP, DROP, AND ROLL” in case clothes catch on fire.
- Ensure that all smoke detectors are functioning.
- Soak shrubs within 15 feet of the home.
- Leave livestock unsheltered. If there is time and it is safe to evacuate, move them from the danger zone.
- Point your vehicle in the direction of escape. If you put it in a garage, back it in. Keep car doors closed and roll up the windows. Leave the key in the ignition. Have your valuables and GO-Kit already packed in your car. Make sure your car is in good condition (including the radio), and keep your fuel tank full. Move any vehicles you are not taking away from the house.
- Fill any large vessels such as pools, hot tubs, garbage cans, or tubs with water to slow or discourage fire.
- Turn off propane or natural gas and move any tanks well away from structures.
- Turn on the lights in the house, porch, garage, and yard.
- Inside the house, move combustible materials such as lights, curtains, and furniture away from the windows.
- Place a ladder to the roof in the front of the house.
- Open the fireplace damper and close the fireplace screens.
- Put lawn sprinklers on the roof of the house and turn on the water.
- Move all combustibles away from the house, including firewood and lawn furniture.
- Listen to your local radio station for up-to date information on the fire, evacuation notices and possible road closures.
This item was last modified on April 27, 2016