Don't wait check the date! replace smoke alarms every 10 years

To help you and your family stay safe, the City of Cambridge Fire Department has some important safety tips to share with you!

Safety in your home
  • Test your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, change batteries immediately if needed.
  • Check for overloaded or damaged extension cords, replace where needed.
  • Practice your family's fire escape plan so everyone knows what to do in case of an emergency.
  • Check windows to ensure they open and close properly, in case they are needed as an exit during an emergency.
  • Properly store household chemicals and never mix cleaning agents.
  • Get rid of old newspapers, magazines and junk mail (recycle), as these items tend to pile up and can contribute to the severity and spread of fire.
  • Check and clean filters above your stove.
  • Pull refrigerator out and vacuum or dust the coils.
  • Always keep stairs and landings clear for safe evacuation in event of an emergency.
Safety outside of your home
  • Ensure your address numbers are up and visible from the street.
  • Maintain a clear 'fire zone' of 10 feet around structures.
  • Check outdoor electrical outlets and other electrical appliances for animal nests and to ensure proper wiring.
  • Remove leaves and trash from carports and garages as combustible materials are dangerous if they are exposed to heated automobile components, especially under the vehicle.
  • Clean up and properly store paints, pool and yard chemicals.
  • Check fuels containers for leaks and make sure they are properly stored.
  • Let power equipment sit for approximately 30 minutes before placing it inside to be sure there is no possibility of fire.
  • If you have a fire hydrant in front of your home, assist the Fire department by keeping it clear of snow
BBQ safety
  • Only barbeque grills outdoors - using grills indoors or in enclosed spaces is not only a fire hazard, but it exposes occupants to toxic gasses and potential asphyxiation.
  • Always position the grill well away from combustible objects - buildings, fences, deck railings and landscaping can catch fire easily and quickly.
  • Clean and service your grill regularly.
  • Check all propane tanks and lines for leaks and damage.
  • Never leave a lit grill unattended.
  • Always use long-handled grilling utensils and heat resistant oven mitts to avoid exposure burns from heat and flames.
  • Periodically remove grease build-up in catch trays to prevent it from catching.
Carbon Monoxide safety

Many Ontario households have, on average, 4-6 fuel-burning appliances that produce carbon monoxide (CO) gas. These appliances include:

  • Furnaces
  • Water heaters
  • Fireplaces
  • Dryers
  • Barbecues
  • Stoves
  • Portable fuel-fired heaters and generators

It is now the law to install a CO alarm next to all sleeping areas, if your home has fuel-burning appliances.

Here are some quick facts about CO gas and alarms.

 Fire in Your Apartment Building
 

Fire safety begins with you

People outside building

Learn what to do if a fire happens in your building. This is the best way to protect yourself and those around you.

Talk to your landlord or superintendent. Know the emergency procedures outlined in the building's fire safety plan.

Every fire is different. You must act quickly when you hear the alarm or discover a fire. You must always protect yourself from smoke. Remember, most people die from the smoke, not the fire. Here is what to do.

If there is a fire in your apartment

  • Tell everyone in your apartment to leave.
  • Close all doors behind you.
  • Pull the fire alarm on your floor and yell 'fire'.
  • Leave the building using the nearest stairway.
  • Call the fire department when you are safe.
  • Meet the firefighters when they arrive and tell them where the fire is.

When you hear the Fire Alarm

To go or to stay?

Woman pulling fire alarm

Most of the time, the best thing to do in a fire is leave the building as soon as pos- sible. But in some cases you may not be able to leave and you may have to stay in your apartment. In either case you must act quickly. No matter what your decision you must protect your self from the smoke.

When you leave the building

Check the door to your apartment.

If smoke is entering from around the door, do not open it.

Protect yourself from smoke inside your apartment as described later in this brochure.

Woman feeling door for heat

  • If there is no smoke, brace yourself and open the door a little.
  • If you see smoke or feel heat, close the door quickly and protect yourself.
  • If the corridor is clear, take your keys, lock your door, and go to the nearest stairway.
  • DO NOT USE THE ELEVATOR.
  • Open the nearest stairway door carefully.

Do not use the elevator

  • If there is no smoke, use the stairway to leave the building.
  • If there is smoke, do not enter. Close the door. Go to another stairway and open the door carefully.
  • If there is no smoke here, use this stairway to leave the building.
  • If there is smoke, do not enter. If there are other stairways, try them. If there are not, return to your apartment and protect yourself from smoke.

When you are inside the stairway

If you find smoke on your way down the stairs, leave that stairway as soon as you can. In some buildings, some doors leading from the stair- way to the corridor may be locked. But at least every five floors the doors will not lock so you can leave the stairway.

  • Use another stairway if it is clear of smoke.
  • If you can't use any stairway, return to your apartment if you can, or go into any corridor and bang on apartment doors until you find a place to take shelter.
  • Never go to the roof. Smoke usually rises to the top of the stairway. Doors opening onto the roof are locked and you could be trapped.
  • Remember, wherever you are, if there is smoke, get low and go under the smoke to safety. The air is cleaner near the floor.

Crawling on hands and knees

If you remain in your apartment

You must protect yourself from smoke. Stay in your apartment until you are rescued or until you are told to leave. This may take a long time. Do not try to leave your apartment a long time after the alarm has sounded. The longer you wait, the more risk there is that heavy smoke will have spread into stairways and corridors. Your chances of survival are less.

Old man taping door seams

  • Keep smoke from entering your apartment. Use duct tape to seal cracks around the door and place wet towels at the bottom. Seal vents or air ducts the same way.
  • If smoke enters your apartment:
  • Telephone the fire department, tell them where you are and then move to the balcony. Close the doors behind you.
  • If you don't have a balcony, go to the most smoke-free room, close the door and seal it with tape and towels. If neces- sary, open the window for fresh air. Show emergency personnel where you are by hang- ing a sheet from the window or balcony.
  • Keep low to the floor where the air is cleaner.
  • Listen for instructions from authorities.

Remember, fire safety begins with you.

Find out about fire safety in your building.

Man, woman, child and pet waving from balcony

For more information about surviving a fire, ask your building management or the fire department.

Office of the Fire Marshal © 2008