Wednesday, November 30, 2016
Staying fire safe at home is about more than just throwing up a few smoke detectors and installing a fire extinguisher in the kitchen and calling it a day.
While it’s also important to check to make sure the stove isn’t left on, that candles are blown out, there are also a lot of other things that we need to take care of day-to-day in order to prevent the likelihood of a house fire.
To see what you can do to keep your home protected and safe from fires, keep reading and use our handy checklist to prevent fires in every area of your home:
The Basement & Laundry Room
- Check the areas around your furnace, wood stove, water heater, and other equipment which generates heat to make sure that there is no debris or flammable material close by.
- Check to see if your breaker panel has not been recalled, or needs to be replaced.
- Check to see that breaker wires are not loose.
- Any oily rags are kept in closed, air-tight containers a safe distance away from heat sources and equipment.
- You aren’t storing garbage in the basement.
- Remove the lint from inside your dryer after every use.
- Remove lint and dust from the back of the dryer.
- Ducting material made from plastic or foil has been replaced with semi-rigid, or rigid, metal ducts.
The First Floor
- A smoke detector is installed and working properly.
- The kitchen has a working fire extinguisher.
- Cooking surfaces are free of grease and food particles.
- Curtains, towels, pot holders, and plastic utensils are stored away from hot surfaces
- Kid-friendly snacks aren’t stored above the stove.
- Closets with lights inside have covers (hot bare bulbs can cause fires)
- Shades covering incandescent lights are at least 12 inches away from the lights.
- Any fireplaces have screens, clear flues, and no debris around the base of the fireplace.
- Your chimney is cleaned annually by a qualified professional.
- Your electrical outlets aren’t crowded and overloaded.
The Upstairs & Attic
- Each hallway and bedroom has a working smoke detector
- Lights in closets aren’t exposed (cover the bulbs with a shade or fixture)
- Your electrical outlets aren’t crowded and overloaded.
- Cords don’t run under rugs, carpets, or are pressed against the beds.
- Portable heaters are at least three feet from beds and flammable materials such as rugs, blankets, and curtains.
- The floor has a fully functioning fire extinguisher.
- There is at least a three-inch gap between any fibreglass insulation in your attic, and the lighting fixtures.
- Don’t store trash in the garage.
- The door between the house and garage is solid, and has a threshold to prevent fires from travelling into the home.
- The garage is clear and uncluttered.
- Gasoline is stores away from any heat, or devices, vehicles, or equipment which could cause a spark or be flammable.
For more help staying fire safe, contact the experts at Bison Fire Protection at 204-237-3473 and get fast, professional fire safety solutions.
Wednesday, November 23, 2016
Keeping your family safe from fires and protecting your home and investments should always be one of your biggest priorities, and it’s likely that you’ve already taken many of the common precautions, including installing smoke detectors, keeping fire extinguishers on every floor of your home, planning a fire escape route and practicing it, etc.
However, one of the biggest steps you can take to keep every member of your family safe from fires is to invest in the right fire safety equipment for yourself and your family.
Keep reading to see some of our “must haves” for your family with small children:
A Fire Safety Book
If you have small children at home then keeping a fire safety book around the house can go a long way towards helping them feel comfortable about fire safety, and encouraging little ones to read and remember important fire safety tips.
If you don’t have any, head to your local bookstore and help your child pick out a few books about fire safety, or which features stories about firefighters (if your kids are into firefighters).
These books are written for children, and will be able to explain why fire safety is important, and what they can do if they spot a fire. An added bonus is that reading these books together is a great way to bond and spend time together as a family.
A Fireplace Door Lock
If your home has a fireplace then one of the first things you should get when you have a small child is a lock for the fireplace door.
Not only is discovering that your child has crawled near (or into!) your fireplace a terrifying scenario for any parent, but installing a lock on the fireplace door can also prevent dying embers from escaping out of the fireplace and landing on your carpet, drapes, or surrounding furniture.
A Safety Pilot Light
If your home uses a natural gas-fueled, or propane-fueled vented fireplace, installing a safety pilot light can help prevent the fireplace from getting turned on by accident.
There’s an on/off switch on the safety pilot light, but the most useful component of this system if that it includes an automatic shutoff if the internal flame in your fireplace is accidentally extinguished.
Flame Resistant Oven Mitts
Kitchen fires are one of the most common causes of house fires in Canada, and investing in heat and flame-resistant oven mitts is a great way to prevent burns and and avoid fires caused by towels or mitts left on the stovetop by accident.
An Oven Lock
If you haven’t already invest in this essential piece of “baby proofing” equipment, then make sure to head out as soon as you can to pick one up.
An oven lock does exactly what the name implies: it allows you to lock your oven door shut so that little hands and fingers don’t pull open the door and reach in.
Safe safe at home and call 204-237-3473 for professional service and solutions from the fire protection experts at Bison Fire Protection.
Wednesday, November 16, 2016
Installing a fire pit in your yard is an easy and safe way to enjoy the outdoors after the sun goes down, but it;s important to make sure that your fire pit is safe to use, and you’re taking all the necessary precautions.
One of the most important aspects of safe fire pit use is to make sure that you’re using a safe and well-constructed fire pit, but if you don’t want to spend your savings on an expensive fire pit you can easily make one yourself which is easy on the eyes and safe to use.
Submerged Fire Pits
Submerged fire pits are becoming popular with homeowners and cottage owners because they blend easily into the surroundings.
If you’re planning to dig into the ground, make sure to call 311 to have a technician visit your property to mark where all of your pipes, underground lines, and cables are located underground so that you can dig without worrying about rupturing one of them.
Once you’ve dug your fire pit to your desired size, line the dirt walls of the pit with bricks or dry stones (if you’re using river stones, make sure they dry completely before use.) Add a layer of gravel to the bottom of your pit and cover the gravel with large stones, bricks, or cement.
Use stones to create the top rim and stack bricks or stones as high as you’d like in order to make the pit easy to spot (so nobody falls in) and solidify your stones in place using fire-resistant adhesive.
One last thing: make sure to have drainage from your fire pit, or it will turn into a mosquito breeding ground the moment summer hits.
Gravel Fire Pit
These are one of the easiest kinds of fire pits to put together: all you need to do is buy some gravel to use as your foundation, and then spread it around the area where you intend to install your fire pit.
Then, using large, heavy stones which you can dry-stack, form a circle and build them up to create your easy, DIY fire pit.
Overlaid Stone Fire Pit
If you’re looking for a more artsy feel in your outdoor space, instead of using pre-cut stones and bricks to build your fire pit you can use uniquely-shaped bricks and overlay them to build up your fire pit.
Make sure to use common sense when stacking the stones: make sure that they are dry and feel secure when you stack them. If they don’t feel completely secure, reinforce the area using flame-resistant masonry adhesive.
Once the walls have been built, add a few inches of sand to the centre of the pit, and surround the pit with at least a few inches of sand and gravel. No grass, shrubs, or other yard matter should be within two feet of your new fire pit.
Want more tips on how to safely enjoy your fire pit? Check out our Fire Pit Safety Tips article.
Give the fire safety experts at Bison Fire Protection a call today at 204-237-3473 and enjoy professional service with every visit.
Wednesday, October 26, 2016
Halloween is coming up fast, and whether you’re spending the day giving out candy, hosting a Halloween get-together for your friends, or taking your little ones out Trick-or-Treating, it’s important to make sure to include fire safety as an essential part of your All Hallows Eve planning.
How can you stay fire safe this Halloween? Keep reading to find out:
1. Be Careful When Choosing Costumes
When choosing costumes, wigs, and accessories for your Halloween costume, make sure to check the labels to see that they are flame-retardant or flame-resistant. That way even if they come into contact with burning candles or lighters, they won’t catch fire.
It’s also important to to make sure that the costumes you purchase have long, trailing sections which may ignite easily. Avoid cloaks and capes which are too big, and sleeves and skirts which are longer than necessary.
2. Be Mindful of Decorations
Some steps you can take are:
- Keep combustible decorations like corn stalks, crepe paper, and dried flowers away from any heat sources.
- Avoid crowding exits with decorating materials which could catch on fire and prevent escape.
- If you’re using candles make sure to use candle holders, decorative candles, and lights which have been certified by the Underwriter’s Laboratory of Canada, or the Canadian Standards Association.
3. Be Cautious with Candles
While using real candles might feel more seasonally appropriate, placing burning candles around your home can create hotspots for potential fires.
Some other candle safety tips are:
- Never leave candles burning unattended
- Blow out your candles after four hours of use
- Cut candle wicks short to prevent high flames
- Use long matches to light candles inside of Jack-O-Lanterns
- Keep candles, lighters, and matches out of reach of small children
- Never leave a child in a room unattended with a burning candle
4. Party Responsibly
Hosting a Halloween party is a great excuse to dress up and get together with friends, but if you’re planning to host a party this season make sure to follow these steps in order to stay safe:
- Keep exits clear of decorations and never block escape routes
- Make sure that children and guests know the locations of all exits and the emergency route
- Double-check your smoke alarms before guests arrive to make sure they are working properly
5. Practice STOP, DROP and ROLL
This is essential fire safety for every person, no matter what your age, but Halloween is a great time to review the steps with your kids and family to make sure that they know exactly what to do in case of a fire.
If your clothes catch on fire you should:
- STOP immediately. Don’t run or move, as motion can increase the flames.
- DROP to the ground. Cover your face with your hands when you hit the ground in order to protect your eyes, nose, and mouth from the flames and smoke.
- ROLL back and forth. Rolling will extinguish the flames; keep rolling until the flames have been extinguished completely.
Stay safe thanks to the expertise at Bison Fire Protection and call (204) 237-3473 for service today.
Wednesday, October 19, 2016
Fall is officially here, and many of us are going through the rituals involved with this time of year: carving pumpkins, hosting Thanksgiving, digging up the garden, and closing up the cottage.
For many people throughout Manitoba and Ontario, especially, cottage season runs from mid-April until mid-October (of the end of the month if we’re lucky) and around this time of year families are making the final trek to “close up” their cottage for the winter season.
If a weekend trip out to cottage country is in your near future, take a look at this list of tips to keep your cottage safe and protected against fires during your absence:
Turn Off Your Electrical System
Some cottage owners choose to turn off their electricity entirely by throwing the main switch located in their fuse box. If this is your choice this season, make sure to turn off all major appliances, gas fireplaces, your water heater, and any electrical space heaters or ductless mini split AC systems in any of your rooms.
Ensuring that these items are turned off will help ensure a smooth and error-free startup next season, and reduced the likelihood that an issue with your electrical system will cause a fire over the winter months. This is especially true with space heaters, which may turn on during cold weather and start fires.
Additionally, make sure to check your power lines and any exterior power lines or cables for damage. Put away any wires which will be unused during the winter, and inspect any visible wiring connected to outdoor lights and the like. Make sure to call an electrician if you notice any issues such as damage or fraying.
Clear Away Underbrush & Mow Your Grass
If you have lots of leaves, tree branches, and shrubs surrounding your cabin we advise cleaning them up and trimming them to the best of your ability before leaving the area unattended for the next few months.
While it’s less likely that a fire will ignite during the cold, damp winter months, it’s important to remember that leaves and tree branches are still flammable, and can ignite easily as a result of a spark from a frayed wire. It’s also important to give your lawn (if you have one) a last mow before departing for the season, as longer grass can help fires travel faster.
Take Photos of Everything
In the unfortunate event of a fire it’s important to take photos of everything that was in your cottage when you closed it up for the season.
Most cottage owners have insurance on their cottage and property which will cover the cost of any items lost in a fire, but one of the easiest ways to make sure you can claim everything is to take photos of the layout of your cottage and take notes about which pieces of furniture were in which room when you left.
For help staying fire-safe at home and at work, contact Bison Fire Protection at (204) 237-3473.