Take some time to review the ways you and your family can stay safe in your home, workplace, and community. Check out these home fire safety tips from the Government of Canada, and below.
Protect yourself and your family from CO
Carbon monoxide is a highly poisonous gas. You can’t smell it and you can’t see it, but it can make you very sick—it can even kill you.
Carbon monoxide (CO) is created when appliances that burn any kind of fuel—oil, gas, wood and kerosene—aren’t ventilated properly. CO build-up happens when a fuel-burning heating appliance has been incorrectly installed, badly repaired or poorly maintained. It can also occur if flues, chimneys or vents to the outdoors are blocked.
Visit Building Safety and Standards for more information about building code and qualified oil-burner mechanics.
Carbon monoxide alarms will alert you to danger and could save your life—and they are required by law. Put an alarm on every level of your home, outside each sleeping area and in each bedroom. Test the battery monthly, change the batteries twice a year and replace the alarms every 10 years.
Learn more about preventing carbon monoxide exposure and how to install CO detectors at SeriouslySimple.ca.
Thanks to Yukon Protective Services Emergency Preparedness for this content.
Watch this video courtesy of Perth East Fire Department
We have had recent calls involving Carbon Monoxide (CO) alarms at residential properties. Upon investigation, we have determined the root cause to be linked to the charging of lead-acid batteries in an enclosed area and often when being trickle charged. This charging process often leads to off gassing of Hydrogen through venting holes in the battery that are designed for this process.
Lead-acid batteries produce Hydrogen when charging
Carbon Monoxide detectors use something called a "Metal Oxide Semiconductor (MOS)" sensor, which detects a variety of gases including Hydrogen. A MOS sensor calibrated for CO will give a false positive in the presence of Hydrogen gas. A small confined space can create an explosive atmosphere if Hydrogen reaches its Lower Explosive Limit (LEL) of 4%.
Ensure adequate ventilation is provided while charging batteries. Besides the toxicity and flammability of these substances, it should be kept in mind that they will all also displace oxygen. Unconsciousness can result in as little as a few seconds' exposure to an oxygen deficient atmosphere and for that reason, you should evacuate the building immediately anytime Carbon Monoxide alarms are ringing. Call 911, get out and stay out until the atmosphere can be tested and proven safe.
Tips for charging batteries
- Charge batteries in a well ventilated area
- Follow manufacturer’s instructions
- Be careful when attaching / detaching clamps and ensure correct polarity
- Clean battery terminals according to manufacturer’s instructions before recharging
- Do not attempt to charge a frozen or damaged battery
- Monitor the charging process
- Turn off charger before disconnecting
- Unplug the charging device when completed
- Remember, don’t become a victim - Stay Safe!
Please ensure that smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are properly functioning, and conduct routine testing.
In the event of a power outage, do not use outdoor barbeques or heating devices inside your home or garage. If you have an emergency gasoline-powered generator, keep it well away from doors and windows to prevent carbon monoxide from entering your home.
Space heaters must be kept at least three-feet away from any combustible material, and always plugged directly into electrical outlets – do not use extension cords. Remember to never leave space heaters unattended or with unsupervised children or pets.
Keep your home safe by having annual inspections of heating appliances prior to the winter season. A woodstove, even if only used for back-up heating, needs an annual inspection by a qualified technician.
Be prepared for emergencies year round – be able to sustain your household for a minimum of 72-hours without power or running water.
For more information on keeping your home safe this winter, please contact Whitehorse Fire and Protective Services at 668-2462.
The dangers of extension cords:
- Extension cords are a common cause of electrical fires. That is why you must be careful to use only extension cords that are rated for the power used by the device they are powering.
- Extension cords must never be run inside walls or under rugs or furniture. They can be damaged by traffic or heavy furniture and start arcing, which can lead to a fire.
- Extension cords can get warm during use and must be able to dissipate this heat or they can start a fire.
Signs of an electrical problem:
- Flickering lights: if the lights dim every time you turn on an appliance it means that the circuit is overloaded or has a loose connection.
- Sparks: if sparks appear when you insert or remove a plug, it could be a sign of loose connections.
- Warm electrical cord: if an electrical cord is warm to the touch, the cord is underrated or defective.
- Frequent blown fuses or broken circuits: a fuse that continues to blow or circuit breaker that keeps tripping is an important warning sign of problems.
- Frequent bulb burnout: a light bulb that burns out frequently is a sign that the bulb is too high in wattage for the fixture.
Smoke Alarms Save Lives: Test Yours Every Month!
The National Fire Code of Canada requires that working smoke alarms be located on every level of the home and outside all sleeping areas.
Your safety is your responsibility.
Only working smoke alarms save lives.
In fact, smoke alarms can increase your chances of surviving a fire by up to 50%!
Make sure you:
- Test smoke alarms monthly;
- Change the batteries once a year;
- Replace smoke alarms after 10 years; and
- Develop and practice a home fire escape plan with everyone in your household.
For any questions please contact the Whitehorse Fire Department at 867-668-2462.