Fires are also a risk during the winter: Stay safe with these tips from the IBC

January 30th, 2015 by admin

Fires are a risk year-round, including during the winter months, when there's actually a higher chance for gas leaks. We've emphasized the importance of fire awareness and safety before, but conditions merit revisiting the topic now.

Ralph Palumbo, Vice-President, Ontario, IBC, explains that "people often believe equipping their house with a smoke detector is enough to ensure their family's safety." But there are, in fact, other steps that you should take. 

Here are the IBC's 10 steps for preventing house fires:

  1. Install and regularly check smoke detectors. Be sure to remove dust, check the batteries when the clocks change during the spring and fall and replace the devices every 10 years.
  2. Assemble an emergency preparedness plan for your family. Work together with your family in developing a fire evacuation plan and practise executing the plan so that you can carry it out in the event of an emergency.
  3. Frequently inspect and clean chimney flues. In particular, you should ensure that there are no blockages.
  4. Install proper light bulbs. Don't use light bulbs with a higher wattage than the maximum indicated on the fixture.
  5. Monitor heated appliances and decor. Especially during the winter, make sure you're properly using and watching portable heaters. Objects should be kept at least three feet away. In addition, remove any lint from the dryer after usage. Finally, don't leave irons or burning candles unattended.
  6. Be careful when cooking. Be especially cautious when deep-drying or cooking with flammable oils.
  7. Properly store flammable materials. Store gasoline, solvents, waste or other flammable materials at least 10 metres away from your home.
  8. Remove dry leaves and debris during the fall, and clear off the area around fire hydrants during the winter. During the fall, make sure leaves, as well as other dry materials and potentially flammable garbage are cleared away from the exterior of your house, particularly if you have wood or vinyl siding. During the winter, be sure no snow is obscuring your fire hydrant. 
  9. Prepare and update a home inventory. This list should include what you own, including the value of each item. Make sure to take photos or video and update the list regularly. 
  10. Put together a disaster safety kit. This should include food, water and other necessities that will last at least 72 hours in an emergency.

In terms of  coverage, nearly every home or tenant's insurance policy covers damage caused by fire as long as it was not intentional or started by the homeowner. Nonetheless, it is important to confirm with your insurance provider that you have adequate coverage for all of your belongings. 

If you have questions about preventing house fires, Fundy Mutual can help. We have you covered for your insurance needs this winter and year-round. Visit our website today for a free homeowners insurance quote or car insurance quote.