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Fire safety

Fire Department

Fire Station

3599 Church St.

450 834-2596, ext. 7142 | Email: incendie@rawdon.ca | Director: Éric Dontigny

 

December – Carbon Monoxide (CO) poisoning

Carbon monoxide is a gas that is hazardous to your health and can be deadly.  It is odorless, colorless and tasteless.  It is released when appliances burn fuel such as propane, ethanol, wood and heating oil, etc.

The symptoms and consequences of poisoning are:

  • nausea (moderate poisoning) ;
  • headache (moderate poisoning) ;
  • fatigue (moderate poisoning) ;
  • loss of consciousness (severe poisoning) ;
  • death (severe poisoning).

 

How to prevent poisoning
To prevent poisoning, it is important to install well-functioning CO detectors in the right places, to properly use and maintain fuel-burning appliances and to carry out regular inspections and cleaning of chimneys, pipes and appliance connections.

 

Where and when to install a detector?
If a fuel-burning appliance is installed in a residence or when a wall, ceiling or floor is adjacent to a garage where a car is parked, a carbon monoxide (CO) detector must be installed inside each room or in the hallway of rooms within 5 meters of each door.


November – It’s time to check your smoke detectors

Opt for models that require lithium batteries for they have a 10 year battery life. 

A shared responsibility!

  • Homeowners : You must install smoke detectors.
  • Tenants: You must maintain the smoke detectors, which includes changing the batteries.

A smoke alarm, or smoke detector, alerts the occupants of the house with an audible signal when there is presence of smoke.   It allows you to react quickly and save lives.  In the event of a fire, you have less than 3 minutes to evacuate your home.

 

Where to install detectors?

Everyone in the household must be able to hear the alarms when they go off.

In which rooms should they be installed?

It is recommended to have 1 smoke detector:

  • On each floor, including the basement;
  • In the hallway, close to the bedrooms;
  • In every room;
  • Near the stairs.

 

Tests and maintenance

Check your smoke detectors every month by pressing the test button for a few seconds to hear the beep.  If your smoke detectors are connected to a central monitoring station, notify your provider before performing the test.

Never paint the smoke detectors.

Opt for long-lasting batteries such as lithium or use rechargeable batteries but only if they are recommended by the device manufacturer.

Replace the smoke detector batteries when you hear an intermittent beep and when you move into a new home.

Since smoke detectors have a limited lifespan, you should replace them every 10 years.

Fire burns while smoke kills.


October – Sweep your chimney at least once a year!

It is recommended to have your chimney swept at least once a year, either in the spring or fall.  Sweeping your chimney more often is also recommended depending on the quality and quantity of the wood burned.

There are over 1100 chimney fires each year in Quebec.  They represent a potential source of building fires that could cause significant material loss and even human loss. Consequently, it is very important to have your new wood stove and chimney installed by a professional. It is also necessary to ensure that they are maintained regularly.

A good sweep

To carry out the sweeping efficiently, the professional must work both inside and outside of the building. The following are tasks that the chimney sweep will undertake :

  • Brush the chimney vigorously with the appropriate brush;
  • Check the condition of the entire heating system, clean each of its components, adjust the parts and notify you of any breakage or anomaly;
  • Check the clearance around the device as well as its general installation.

Beware of partial sweeping that consists only of passing the brush through the chimney flue. The professional chimney sweep should check the installation inside the home  and should dispose of the chimney residue.

 

What is creosote?
Creosote is a deposit formed by the smoke caused by partial or poor combustion of wood.  It grips the chimney walls and is highly flammable. Only a professional chimney sweep can remove it effectively.

How to prevent creosote build-up?
It is impossible to prevent the build-up of creosote when you are burning wood. However, it is possible to keep it to a minimum by adopting the following good habits:

  • Build hot fires that burn efficiently;
  • Burn dry wood;
  • Use small logs.  They will burn cleaner, causing less creosote.

 


September – How to draw up an evacuation plan

Clearly indicate :

  • The emergency exits (main entrance, windows, patio doors);
  • 2 possibilities per room to reach the emergency exits;
  • The meet-up point located outside the home, that is accessible at all times, no matter the season;
  • Indicate the location of all smoke detectors, carbon monoxide (CO) detectors as well as portable extinguishers.

Make a plan to reach 911 once outside of the house, such as going to a neighbor’s house if you do not have a cell phone with you.

If necessary,  make a plan to evacuate the children, the elderly and people with disabilities, who may have difficulty hearing the smoke alarm and need assistance with getting around.

Perform an evacuation drill with everyone living in the home, at least once a year, by following the steps below :

  • Sound the smoke alarm;
  • Start a timer to monitor your evacuation time;
  • Evacuate your house according to the evacuation plan, trying to do it in less than 3 minutes;
  • Once outside, go to the meet-up point;
  • Assess your evacuation and make any necessary adjustments to improve it.

August – Open a window to avoid being poisoned!

If you are an outdoor enthusiast, while on vacation, you will probably use devices that emit carbon monoxide (CO), a poisonous gas.

Most carbon monoxide poisonings are caused by the improper use of combustible appliances, by the poor maintenance and installation of these appliances, or through poor ventilation of the premises.  You need to be vigilant and adopt safe practices to minimize the risk of intoxication.

  • Always use portable cooking appliances outdoors.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the safe use and thorough maintenance of your device.
  • To keep warm, use only heating devices that are designed for indoor use.
  • Make sure that there is adequate ventilation at your campsite.
  • Use tools and equipment with combustion engines, such as a generator, in open and well-ventilated areas only.
  • Carbon monoxide (CO) is odorless, colorless, tasteless and non-irritating.  For humans, it is impossible to detect.
  • Only a CO detector can reveal its presence.
  • Before leaving for your vacation, make sure to bring a CO detector for your recreational vehicle (trailer, tent trailer, camper, etc.) or your campsite (yurt, cottage, tent, hunting or fishing camp, etc.)

Please note that a smoke detector cannot detect the presence of CO.  You must install both devices or a device that has both functions combined.


July – Watch your cigarette butts!

Did you know that materials found in flower beds, flowerpots, window boxes, etc, are generally combustible? A cigarette butt can smoulder for over three hours and a flame is likely to appear during this time!

It is important to dispose of your cigarette butts with care :

  • To avoid any risk of fire associated with the improper disposal of a smoker-related items, extinguish your cigarette in an ashtray designed for this purporse, namely a non-combustible container filled with sand, water, etc.;
  • Place all ashtrays away from any flammable object or surface;
  • Prior to emptying an ashtray, make sure that all cigarette butts are extinguished by pouring a little water over them;
  • Never throw cigarettes or matches directly into to the trash bin;
  • When you are out and about, avoid throwing your cigarette butts on the ground, grass, forest, etc.

June | Are you moving?

Moving season is upon us.  If you are planning to move to a new residence, remember to make sure that you are well protected in the event of a  fire.

Check that the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are installed in strategic locations and that they are functioning properly.  A smoke detector must be installed on each floor of your residence, including the basement, in the hallway near the bedrooms as well as in each bedroom where you sleep with the door closed.  As for the carbon monoxide detector, it is necessary to install one if you have an oil heating appliance, a wood stove or fireplace, an appliance that runs on kerosene, propane, gas or oil, combustion engine tools, a garage attached to the house.

Make sure that the exits of your residence are clear at all times, even if you have not yet finished unpacking your boxes.  In an emergency, everyone in your family must be able to get out quickly.  Also, please remember to draw up a family evacuation plan and designate a meeting point somewhere outside.

Pay special attention when transporting or storing hazardous products.  The following are three rules you must follow when transporting a propane cylinder:

  • The cylinder valve must be closed tightly and the sealing/dust cap must be in place;
  • The cylinder must be immobilized upright;
  • The cylinder must be placed in a well ventilated spot.

Finally, if you are purchasing a home with a wood stove, make sure that it has been properly maintained before using it.  If it has not, call on a chimney sweep.


May | Can I build a fire today?

Last year, in May 2020 only, the Municipality of Rawdon responded to 18 open fires.

What is an open fire? Any fire that burns freely or could spread freely.  Pyrotechnic elements (fireworks), instruments that produce sparks (welding equipment) are good examples of open fires.

It is forbidden to burn:

  • garbage
  • construction material
  • furniture
  • treated wood
  • tires or other rubber or plastic materials
  • dangerous or polluting products or any other products that are prohibited to burned, according to current laws and regulations.

Certain conditions must be observed: the fire must be located at least 5 metres away from any building, flammable material, wooded area, as well as any tree, hedge or shrub.  The person responsible for lighting the fire must ensure constant surveillance and take the necessary and appropriate measures to maintain control of it, prevent its spread and extinguish it (have sufficient water nearby to put out the fire in an emergency).

A permit is not required to light a fire that is no wider than 1 metre by 1 metre and a maximum height of 1 metre.  This type of fire must be protected by a spark screen and can only be lit in a fireproof container.

A permit is required to light a fire that exceeds the above-mentioned dimensions.

The permit is issued free of charge and is valid for the indicated period.  Please make sure to obtain your fire permit at the Town Hall reception desk during office hours.

Consult the pamphlet A permit to burn, yes or no?


April | Prevent fire hazards when cooking

  • Never try to extinguish an oil fire with water.
  • Never move a burning container.
  • Quickly place a lid on a flaming container.

To prevent a kitchen fire, here are some good habits to adopt:

  • Use a timer (this way you will avoid burnt cakes).
  • Use the right tools and the right cooking equipment (oven mitts, pot holders…).
  • Keep the cooking surface clear at all times.
  • Keep the saucepan lid handy.
  • Handle hot or boiling foods with care.
  • Always turn pot/pan handles inward so that they do not extend out from the cooktop.
  • Clean cooking appliances and the range hood regularly.
  • Wear safe clothing while cooking. (avoid loose fitting clothes and flammable fabrics).
  • Use an approved fryer with a thermostat (never take your eyes off of it).
  • Allow the burner of a fondue set to cool before refueling it.
  • Did you know that kitchen fires are mostly caused by human error, due to a lack of time or space, fatigue or distraction?  We invite you to be vigilant so as to avoid the following errors which can lead to human and material disasters:
  • Turning on the stovetop heating element too early;
  • Underestimating the cooking time of certain foods;
  • Temporarily placing combustible items in the oven (e.g.: pizza box);
  • Forgetting to shut off the stovetop heating element after cooking;
  • Placing combustible materials near or on the cooking surface, such as cardboard boxes, paper towels, dish towels, etc.;
  • Moving a flaming pan.

Never attempt to extinguish an oil fire with water, as this will fuel the fire and spread it.  Instead, place a lid on the container to cut off the air supply or use a portable fire extinguisher.


March | Prepare an emergency kit for your home

  • Drinking water (6 litres per person);
  • Non-perishable food (for at least 3 days);
  • Manual can opener;
  • Battery operated radio – spare batteries;
  • Headlamp or flashlight – spare batteries or a hand-crank flashlight;
  • A lighter or matches and candles;
  • A first-aid kit – antiseptics, pain relievers, adhesive bandages, sterile gauze pads, scissors, etc.;

Have an emergency kit

  1. To meet your basic needs while waiting for help.
  2. To take with you during a home evacuation.
  3. To prepare for a power failure.
  4. To prepare for a flood warning.
  5. To prepare for an earthquake.

February | Hot ashes

Improper storage of hot ashes can cause a fire or carbon monoxide poisoning. To safely dispose of your ashes, you must:

  • Empty the ashes from the fireplace regularly with a metal shovel, never a vacuum cleaner;
  • Place the hot ashes into a metal container with a raised bottom and a metal lid;
  • Bring the metal container outside, as hot ashes give off carbon monoxide;
  • Place it on a non-combustible surface, at least one metre away from any object;
  • Wait at least 7 days before transferring the ashes into another container (garbage can, compost bin) and stir them to ensure that they are perfectly cooled. If possible, store the ashes outside all winter and dispose of them in the spring.

January | In winter, keep emergency exits cleared of snow and ice at all times

In a fire, you and your family may have less than three minutes to get out of your home safe and sound. Imagine the precious seconds you would lose if the exit you had to use was snowbound!

Following each heavy snowfall, make sure to clear and/or de-ice your exits, balconies as well as your basement windows. Check that the windows are not sealed shut by the ice.

This applies to the firefighters also, should they be called upon to intervene at your home.  Obstructed access could hinder their rapid response which could limit property damages or prevent the loss of human life.