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Freeze Out Winter Fires

Nov 22, 2022

A light snowfall outside, viewed through a frosted window that overlays an idyllic winter scene. Indoors, we maintain heat, we cook, we entertain, and as is often the case, we decorate for the season.  

Winter is nearly upon us and, whether through festive holiday lighting, fireplaces, electrical heating units or cooking for family gatherings, the winter months frequently provide opportunity for exposure to fire hazards.

November 24 – 30 is National Home Fire Safety Week, and the Canada Safety Council wants to remind you to be proactive and freeze out winter fires.

“We need to remember that a home fire can take hold at any moment,” said Gareth Jones, President and CEO of the Canada Safety Council. “It is vital to have a fire prevention plan in place before it is needed, because an instant is all it takes for a plan to go from afterthought to the most important thing in the moment. Proactive planning will help keep you and your family safe and better equipped to deal with an emergency.”

This heightened exposure to fire hazards during colder months unsurprisingly leads to more fatalities. According to Statistics Canada, between 2011 and 2020, the four highest average incidents of accidental fire-related fatalities by month occurred in January (210), March (195), February (180) and December (165).

Additionally, residential properties accounted for 92 per cent of all unintentional fire-related fatalities in that same time period. Avoid becoming a victim in your own home – ensure your residence is equipped with working tools including smoke alarms and a fire extinguisher, and ensure that you and your housemates have an established and practiced escape plan.

Read on for more tips on freezing out fires this winter season:

  • Avoid overloading electrical circuits. Keep in mind that, in many houses, a single circuit can be used for a whole room. Identifying this problem may not be as simple as looking for a single overloaded outlet. Symptoms of an overloaded circuit can include flickering or dimming lights, blown fuses, a tripping circuit breaker and a burning smell.
  • Use only CSA approved lights and appliances. This certification ensures proper wiring and a product designed to withstand the electrical charge it receives.
  • Keep an eye on products designed to emit heat. These can include hair dryers and straighteners, for example. Even if properly certified, these products can overheat if combined with a faulty breaker and a circuit that is already highly taxed.
  • Don’t use electrical devices with frayed or damaged wires. The insulation on these wires exists to deter arcing and heat output, two major components in home fires. Replace these devices.

You can also read past National Home Fire Safety Week campaigns dealing with kitchen safety and fire extinguisher tips. The Canada Safety Council wishes you a safe and healthy holiday season!

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For more information, please contact:
Lewis Smith
Manager, National Projects, Canada Safety Council
lewis.smith@safety-council.org

 

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