Every year, fires claim lives and cost millions of dollars in damage; in many cases, these tragedies could be avoided. The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) offers its IBC Top 10: Tips for Preventing House Fires and Saving Lives to help protect their families and their homes.
- Install and regularly check smoke detectors – remove dust, check batteries when the clocks change in spring and fall, test regularly and replace at least every 10 years.
- Create an emergency preparedness plan for your family – develop a fire evacuation plan, practise executing that plan and stick to it in an emergency.
- Frequently inspect and clean chimney flues – ensure that there are no blockages.
- Install proper light bulbs – never use light bulbs with a higher wattage than the maximum indicated on the fixture.
- Monitor heated appliances and decor – properly use and watch portable heaters, ensure lint is removed from the dryer, never leave irons unattended and keep an eye on burning candles.
- Be careful when cooking – use your kitchen safely, especially when deep-drying or cooking with flammable oils.
- Properly store flammable materials – store gasoline, solvents, waste or other materials that may ignite at least 10 metres away from your home.
- Remove dry leaves and debris – keep leaves, other dry materials and potentially flammable garbage away from the exterior of your house, especially if you have wood or vinyl siding.
- Prepare and update a home inventory – Download Wawanesa's Personal Property Inventory form and use to create a list of what you own, including the value of each item. Take photos or video and update the list regularly.
- Assemble a disaster safety kit – prepare a basic kit of food, water and other necessities that will last at least 72 hours in an emergency.
Source: Insurance Bureau of Canada