Fire Prevention and Safety
The importance of fire prevention cannot be overstated. We like to think it won’t happen to us, but it can. The good news is that Welland Fire and Emergency Services (WFES) promotes a proactive approach to fire safety and prevention through public education, training, inspection, and code enforcement.
WFES operates with three mandates:
Public education: Educating the public is the best way to reduce fire loss.
Code enforcement: Enforcing the requirements of the Ontario Fire Code, the Fire Protection and Prevention Act, and relevant sections of the Ontario Building Code ensures a minimum level of life safety is maintained across city occupancies. Inspections are done on a regular, request, or complaint basis.
Fire cause determination: Investigating all fires to determine origin and cause.
You can find a list of inspection fees in the Inspection Fees Guide.
Fire Safety Tips
Carbon Monoxide Alarms
The only way to detect the presence of this deadly gas is by installing a carbon monoxide alarm.
Rules on open-air fires such as campfires, chimineas, barbecues, grills, and other devices.
- Provide smokers with large, deep ashtrays that cannot be knocked over.
- Encourage smokers to smoke outside.
- Wet cigarette butts with water before discarding and empty ashes into a metal container – not the garbage can – and put it outside.
- Do not extinguish cigarettes in plant pots that may contain peat moss, shredded wood, and bark that can easily ignite.
- Never smoke in bed.
- Ensure all cigarettes are extinguished, and the stove is off before bed.
- Cigarettes can smoulder among upholstered items for hours before igniting, so check sofas and chairs for cigarettes that may have fallen between the cushions.
- Have your heating system and chimneys inspected and cleaned annually by a qualified technician.
- Ensure all outside heating vents are not blocked.
- Ensure woodstoves, fireplaces, and fireplace inserts are installed by a qualified technician according to manufacturer’s instructions.
- 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, keeping the container outside.
- Develop and practice a home fire escape plan.
- Sit down with everyone in your home and discuss how each person will get out in the event of a fire. Then, practice your escape plan with everyone in the home.
- Know two ways out of each room, if possible. Make sure all doors and windows leading outside open easily.
- Help those who need it. Determine who will be responsible for helping young children, older adults, people with disabilities, or anyone else needing assistance.
- Have a meeting place outside that is a safe distance from your home. In case of fire, everyone should go directly to this place to be accounted for.
- Close doors behind you as you leave.
- Get out, stay out. When the smoke alarms sound, get out immediately and call 911 from outside using a cell phone or a neighbour’s home. Never re-enter a burning building.
- Check cords for damage such as fraying or nicks. A damaged cord can expose wires, resulting in a potential shock or fire hazard.
- Avoid running cords under rugs, which can damage the cord and cause a fire.
- Extension cords should only be used as a temporary connection. If permanent wiring is required, have additional outlets installed by a licensed electrician. Do not link extension cords; use an extension cord long enough to do the job.
- You should plug air conditioners and other heavy appliances directly into an outlet.
- Avoid overloading a circuit with octopus outlets. If additional outlets or circuits are required, have them installed by a licensed electrician.
- Test your smoke alarms by pushing the test button.
- Install smoke alarms on every level of your home and outside all sleeping areas.
- For best protection, install smoke alarms in every bedroom.
- Test smoke alarms monthly and change the batteries at least once a year.
- Ensure all fuel-burning appliances and vents are inspected annually. Registered contractors can be found at cosafety.ca.
- Install carbon monoxide alarms outside all sleeping areas if your home has a fuel-burning appliance, fireplace, or attached garage.
- For best protection, install carbon monoxide alarms on every level of the home.
- Test carbon monoxide alarms monthly and change the batteries at least once a year. Then, replace alarms according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
- To minimize the risk of fire and burn injury, the fire service does not recommend family fireworks or informal neighbourhood displays.
- The fire service recommends attending public fireworks displays hosted by your municipality or another responsible organization.
- If you still choose to have a family fireworks or an informal neighbourhood display, here are some important safety tips to be followed:
- Appoint a responsible person to be in charge. Only adults who are aware of the hazards and essential safety precautions should handle and discharge fireworks.
- Carefully read and follow the label directions on fireworks packaging.
- Always keep a water hose or pail of water close by when discharging fireworks.
- Discharge fireworks well away from combustible materials like buildings, trees, and dry grass.
- Keep onlookers a safe distance away, upwind from the area where fireworks are discharged.
- Light only one firework at a time and only when they are on the ground. Never try to light a firework in your hand or re-light dud fireworks. For dud fireworks, it is best to wait 30 minutes and soak them in a bucket of water. Dispose of them in a metal container.
- Discharge fireworks only if wind conditions do not create a safety hazard.
- Keep sparklers away from children. Sparklers burn extremely hot and can ignite clothing, cause blindness, and result in severe burns. As the sparkler wire remains hot for some minutes after burnout, it should be immediately soaked in water to avoid injury.
- If someone gets burned, run cool water over the wound for three to five minutes and seek medical attention, if necessary.
TAPP-C (The Arson Prevention Program for Children)
TAPP-C is a program that brings together fire service and counseling professionals to help families deal effectively with children and teens involved in fire-play. The fire service professionals educate children and their families about fire and how to develop good fire safety practices. Counseling professionals assess the risk of continued fire involvement and help children and their families deal with problems that may contribute to the fire-setting. TAPP-C is available to children from 2 to 17 years of age.