Family in front of clothes dryer.

Home fire safety is an important responsibility during the winter season and throughout the year. Preparing for a potential fire with a home escape plan, and knowing what to do to prevent kitchen, electrical or heating equipment fires will help to keep you and your family safe.


 Home Escape Plan

Working smoke alarms will let you know there is fire in your home. A home escape plan will help you and your family get out safely. Here's what to do:
  • Plan two ways out of every room.
  • Make sure windows can be easily opened.
  • Have one meeting place outdoors like a tree or neighbour's house.
  • Decide who will help young children, the elderly and physically or mentally challenged.
  • Call 9-1-1 once you are safely outside.
  • Make sure family members and guests know the plan.
  • Practice the plan to make sure it works.

Kitchen and Cooking Safety Tips

Unattended cooking is the leading cause of home fires. These fires can happen quickly but there are things you can do to stop it from happening in your home:

  • Most important – stay in the kitchen while you are cooking.
  • Keep cooking areas clear of combustibles such as oven mitts, towels, packaging, and curtains.
  • Keep children and pets away from cooking areas.
  • Always keep oven mitts and a proper fitting led within reach.

If a fire starts on the stove

  • Put on an oven mitt and carefully slide the lid over the pot or pan.
  • Turn off the burner when the flames are no longer coming out from the pan.
  • Do not move the pot.
  • Keep the lid on until it is completely cool.
  • Never pour water on a grease fire.

If a fire starts in the oven or microwave

  • Turn off the power and keep the door closed.
  • Have the oven serviced before you use it again.

If the fire does not go out...

Leave the house immediately and call the fire department emergency number.

Electrical Fires

  • Air conditioners and other heavy appliances should be plugged directly into an outlet.

  • Extension cords should only be used as a temporary wiring. If permanent wiring is required, have more outlets installed by a licensed electrician.

  • Extension cords should not be linked together – use an extension cord that is long enough to do the job.

  • Check cords for damage such as fraying or nicks. A damaged cord can expose wires and result in a possible shock or fire hazard.

  • Avoid running cords under rugs, which can damage the cord and cause a fire.

  • Avoid using multi-plug adapters that can overload a circuit. If additional outlets or circuits are required, have them installed by a licensed electrician.

  • All outlets near water should be ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs). A GFCI provides split-second electrical protection.

  • When replacing a fuse, make sure it is the correct amperage. Substituting a higher amp fuse where a smaller one is required can pose a fire hazard.

Heating Equipment Fires

  • Have your heating system and chimneys inspected and cleaned annually by a qualified service technician.
  • Make sure all outside heating vents are not blocked with things like snow, ice, or animal nests.
  • Woodstoves, fireplaces, and fireplace inserts need to be put in by a qualified installer. Look for someone with a WETT (Wood Energy Technical Training) certification.
  • Always use a fire screen around the fireplace.
  • Allow ashes from your woodstove or fireplace to cool before emptying them into a metal container with a tight-fitting lid. Keep the container outside.
  • Keep children and pets away from glass doors on a woodstove or fireplace. These doors can get very hot and cause burns if touched.

Seasonal Safety Tips

Snow Clearing Safety

While Port Hope Fire and Emergency Services appreciates your assistance clearing the snow from around the fire hydrant, we want to make sure it is done safely:

  • Shoveling puts a strain on your heart, especially if you don’t exercise regularly or if you have existing medical conditions.  If you have concerns, speak with a health care professional.  In some cases, it may be better to hire someone to look after the snow removal
  • Dress warmly and in layers. Don’t forget a hat, gloves and water repellent non-slip boots
  • Warm up your muscles. Stretching and light exercise prior to shoveling can help to prevent strains and sprains
  • Stay hydrated and take lots of breaks.
  • Try to push snow.  If you have to lift snow, use proper lifting methods
  • Stop if you experience any chest pain, shortness of breath or any other physical issues.  Seek emergency care if necessary

Family Day

February 15, 2021 is Family Day.  This is a great time to do a family fire safety check in your home:

  • Test your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms to make sure they all sound. 
  • Ask if everyone knows the difference between the sound of a smoke alarm and a carbon monoxide alarm (Hint – most smoke alarms will sound three long beeps and most carbon monoxide alarm will sound four short beeps).
  • Make or review your home escape plan.
  • Practice your home escape plan to make sure it works
  • Plan a hazard hunt.  Look around the house for anything that could be dangerous

 Smoke Alarms