With the accumulation of snow and possible additional accumulations, Hamilton firefighters are reminding citizens of some important winter fire safety tips.
Fire hydrants are of little help when buried in snow banks and snowdrifts, so be sure to clear snow from them when shovelling your driveways and sidewalks, they say. It is important to keep an area around fire hydrants clear in order to ensure clear access and to make them easy to locate by responding firefighters.
It is also advisable to check keep snow in check around exit doors and furnace vents. The Ontario Fire Code requires that all exterior passageways, exterior stairways and fire escapes be maintained free of all snow and ice accumulations; building owners and landlords are asked to check their buildings and clear all snow as required.
Vent pipes from furnaces and hot water heaters can easily be buried in snow drifts. Built-in safety features should cause a furnace to shut down if the vent is blocked, but carbon monoxide build-ups may still occur prior to the shutdown, says the fire department.
Don't warm up a car or a snow blower by letting the engine run in an attached garage as carbon monoxide levels will build up and eventually seep into the home. If you use a portable generator in the event of a power failure, remember that it should be used only outdoors and placed in a location where fumes will not enter the building.
Candles can easily cause a fire if used improperly. If possible, use a flashlight or a chemical light stick as an alternative light source. If you use candles, do not leave them unattended. Extinguish the candle when you leave the room. Place the candle in a secure holder, protected by a glass chimney and away from all combustibles.
Also, a working smoke alarm is required by provincial law to be installed on every floor level of your home.
For more information on fire safety, contact Hamilton's fire prevention division at 905-546-2424 ext. 1380, weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. or see hamilton.ca/fire.