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Taking a Proactive Approach to Fire Safety

house fireEarlier this week, a fire broke out at a home located on Colborne Street West in Oshawa.  Fortunately, no one was injured, but the fire caused an estimated $100,000 in damages.  Firefighters said that the fire most likely started in the kitchen and spread throughout the house.  Although there were no working smoke detectors in the home, everyone got out safely, and the blaze was contained within 15 – 20 minutes.

The Oshawa fire department is constantly stressing the importance of fire alarms.  They are required by law on every level of the home and can mean the difference between life and death if a fire breaks out.  Smoke alarms should be tested regularly and disposed of once they reach the manufacturer’s replacement date.  Even if your home has hardwired alarms, battery backups are required to ensure they function properly if the power goes out.

A house fire can ignite in an instant and there are several leading causes that home owners should be aware of.  Never leave cooking unattended.  Kitchen fires are very common due to faulty elements, oil or built up grease.  Avoid wearing lose fitting closing that can easily ignite near a burner.  Pot handles should always be turned inward.  Many of us don’t think twice when working in the kitchen because it is a regular part of our daily lives, but it’s important to be aware of smart fire safety in the home.

Space heaters are also a leading cause of house fires.  If you need to use one in the winter, be sure to follow the manufactures instructions and leave plenty of space for circulation around the unit.  Candles also need to be burned with caution.  Even though the flame is small, they can get incredibly hot, or even spark and ignite something within a close range.  Be sure to use protective candle holders, and be extra careful around kids and pets.

The Oshawa fire department also reminds us to use electricity safely.  Check all of your electrical cords and replace them if they are broken or frayed.  Never make changes to your panel without the help of a licensed electrician.  It’s a smart idea to unplug appliances when they aren’t being used, and don’t take any chances if they start to smell like something is burning.

A house fire is a devastating tragedy.  Even if everyone escapes, it’s tough to rebuild when sentimental items have been lost.  Make fire safety a priority for you and your family.  Have an escape plan in place in case of emergency, and as always, be sure to check your fire alarms every time you change the clocks.

Image created by Michael Cossey

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