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This page is designed to provide you with safety information that pertains to all aspects of your life.
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Ministry of Community Safety & Correctional Services
Sleepover Fire Safety for Children
Make sure the home is safe before saying yes. Please click here to read the details.
Use Solar Lights Instead of Candles
During Power Outages (Article)
I have a friend who used her Solar Lights inside the house at night when the electric power went off during a hurricane. She stuck them in jars and bottles and said they gave off plenty of 'free light' in each room. She put them outside in the daytime and brought them back inside at night for several days while the power was off. They are safe to use and cheaper than batteries. She recommended we bring a Solar Light into our own house one night to test it for ourselves.
Due to a thunderstorm, we lost power for about 5 hours one night. We were scrambling around in the darkness, looking for matches, candles, and flashlights. Then we looked outside and noticed our solar lights shining brightly all around the patio, stairs and dock. My wife walked outside and brought several of the solar lights inside. We stuck the Solar Light pipes into plastic drink bottles and they made the nicest, brightest, safest lighting you could imagine. We put one in the bathroom, one in the kitchen and in the living room.
There are many types of solar lights available. We bought quite a few and put them all around our yard. They look nice and do not attract flying bugs like the outdoor lights around our doorway. The lights we have fit into 20-oz. water bottles and also fit into most larger 2 liter bottles. If you need a weight in the plastic bottle to keep them from tipping over, put in a few of the colorful flat marbles they put in aquariums and vases, or whatever you have available.
The solar lights we have are perfect inside our home. They burn all night when needed and next day we take them back outside where they recharge and are ready for use again when needed. Solar lights are the perfect light solution for power outages. I had never thought of it before seeing what my friend did, and now you know about this idea too.
From Your Fire Department - Parents Guide to Finding Fire Safe Student Accommodations
The Ontario Safety League has partnered with the Office of the Fire Marshal, Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs, Electrical Safety Authority and Toronto Fire Services to heighten public awareness about potential safety hazards in apartments and other accommodations. Operation Home Safe highlights the importance of safety in the home. The campaign is particularly targeted to post-secondary students living away from home for the first time or returning to college or university.
Product Recalls and Warnings from the Office of the Fire Marshal
Visit the Office of the Fire Marshal to learn about any recalls or warnings that may affect you and your home:
From the Technical Standards and Safety Authority & the Ontario Fire Marshal's Public Fire Safety Council
The following safety information is provided as a courtesy by the Technical Standards and Safety Authority. To learn more about the TSSA and home safety, visit them at their website: www.tssa.org. For additional safety information, visit http://www.safetyinfo.ca/default.asp . The safetyinfo.ca is sponsored in part by the Ontario Fire Marshal's Public Fire Safety Council.
When we find winter just around the corner that is the time to make sure your chimney is in good working order for the long heating season ahead. A build up of creosote can easily cause a fire, while chimneys blocked by birds or squirrels' nests can cause deadly carbon monoxide gas to enter your home. Your fire department urges you to have you chimney professionally cleaned each year, and inspected for blockages, cracks or corrosion. A carbon-monoxide alarm will provide added protection for you and your family.
Drivers - At the Approach of An Emergency Vehicle
A full time or volunteer firefighter, under the Fire Protection and Prevention Act, may carry in his/her personal vehicle, a lamp that produces intermittent flashes Green Light and may operate the light if the vehicle is proceeding to a fire or other emergency. (Reference: Highway Traffic Act Statutes of Ontario). The green flashing light only requests the right of way for our members so they can arrive safely and provide aid at an emergency.
Our Volunteer fire department relies on the ability of our member so they can arrive safely and provide aid at an emergency.
Help us to Help others, by Yielding to the "Green Flashing Light"
"At the Approach of an Emergency Vehicle"
- Know provincial law when it comes to yielding to an emergency vehicle
- Remain calm and don't panic
- Move your vehicle to the right, if at all possible then come to a complete stop and wait.
- Remember, move to the right for sirens and lights.
- Stay put at an intersection, stop sign or traffic light. If you can, pull over the right.
- Pull over the nearest side of the road. If you are on a one way road or divided highway ensure the shoulder is safe to pull over.
- Before resuming your travel, make sure another emergency vehicle is not coming along after the first one.
- Don't stop in the middle of an intersection. Proceed through it, and then pull over to the right.
- Don't stop in the middle of a lane when there is room on the shoulder.
- Don't pull to the left if in the centre yellow lane or left turn lane.
- Don't race ahead to get through a green light or turn, before an emergency vehicle gets there.
- Don't race after an emergency vehicle to get through a traffic light.
- Don't make a left turn quickly into a driveway or side street.
- Don't disregard the emergency vehicle and continue to travel.
Fire Safety Tips during Power Failures
When your power is out, you may be introducing potential hazards to your home. Please review the following tips and take extra precautions to ensure that everyone stays safe. If you have any questions, contact your fire department at 498-2460.
- Use flashlights whenever possible. If you must use candles, take extreme care.
- Candles should be placed in secure candleholders, protected by a glass chimney.
- Keep candles away from any combustible materials.
- Place candles out of reach of children or pets.
- Extinguish all candles when you leave the room or go to bed.
- Avoid using candles in bedrooms and never leave candles unattended
Matches and Lighters
Keep all matches and lighters out of sight and reach of children, preferably in a locked cabinet.
Shut your Stove Off
Ensure that all elements and ovens are OFF and that nothing has been left on top of the stove.
- Portable generators should be carefully placed outside to ensure that fumes do not enter the home. Install a battery powered CO detector in your home.
- Generators and hot exhaust gases should be kept away from combustibles.
- Store fuel for the generator outside the home. Keep the fuel in an approved container a safe distance away from your home and generator.
- Refuel the generator only after shutting it down and letting it cool. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations regarding use.
Smoke alarms electrically connected to your home’s AC power supply will not work when the power is out unless they have battery back-ups. Find out what type of alarms you have in your home and ensure you are protected by battery operated smoke alarms in the event of a power failure. Test all smoke alarms now.
- Install only approved smoke alarms and replace every 10 years.
- Install smoke alarms on every level of your home and near sleeping areas. If you sleep with the bedroom door closed, consider installing one in each bedroom as well.
- Because smoke rises, install smoke alarms on the ceiling. If that is not possible, install them as high on the wall as possible.
- Avoid certain locations such as near bathrooms, heating appliances, windows or close to ceiling fans.
- Test your smoke alarm monthly using the alarm test button. Following the owner’s manual, test your alarm annually using smoke from an incense stick or follow manufacturer’s instruction.
- Change the batteries in the spring and fall when you change your clocks.
- Dust can clog a smoke alarm so gently vacuum it with a soft bristle brush every six months.
- Smoke alarms do wear out so if they are 10 years old or more, install new ones.
Smoke Alarms Required on Every Level of Your Home - Ontario Fire Code Amendment
On December 13, 2005, Monte Kwinter, Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services, announced an amendment to the Ontario Fire Code to require working smoke alarms on every level of every home. The Fire Code currently requires that smoke alarms be installed near all sleeping areas in a home. Ontario Regulation 650/05, which was filed on December 12, 2005, amends the Fire Code by adding the requirement that, effective March 1, 2006, smoke alarms must also be installed on each storey of a dwelling unit that does not contain a sleeping area. Click here to read a copy of the Regulation ( Adobe .pdf file).
The penalties for non-compliance of smoke alarm requirements remain the same:
- $235 fine (total payable) under Part 1 (Certificates of offence) of the Provincial Offences Act;
- a maximum $25,000 fine or up to one year in jail or both for individuals, and a maximum $50,000 fine for corporations, under Subsection 28.(3) of the Fire Protection and Prevention Act, 1997.
Plan Your Escape
Ensure everyone in the home knows what to do in the event of fire. Who is going to look after the children or older adults? Where do you want everyone to meet outside the home? Call the fire department from a neighbour’s home. Everyone should have at least one phone (not cordless) that works during a power failure.
Never leave children alone if they are not capable of taking care of themselves. Know your baby-sitter: choose a person who has a sense of responsibility, a liking for children, and if possible, who lives in the same neighborhood.
Review these guidelines with your babysitter. Leave both written and oral instructions with your babysitter including:
- Where you will be, how you can be contacted (exact address, phone number) and when you will return.
- The name, address and phone number of a responsible neighbor to be contacted in an emergency.
- The complete address of your residence.
- Where the exits are located.
- Where the phone is located.
- How to call the fire department, police or an amublance in an emergency (911).
Do you know what these symbols mean?
You will find them on the labels of products in and around your home. You will see them on paint thinners, drain cleaners, windshield washer fluid and different kinds of polish. Look for them on the labels. Learn what they mean.
- Teach children that these symbols mean Danger! Do not touch!
- Keep all products with these symbols where children cannot SEE or REACH them.
- Read the label and follow the instructions. If you have trouble reading the label, ask for help. Do not cover up or remove the labels from these products.
- Copy emergency phone numbers from the first page of your phone book. Keep those numbers close to the phone.
- If someone is hurt by a product that has these symbols on the label:
- Call the Poison Control Centre or your doctor right away
- Tell the person who answers the phone what the label says
- Bring the product with you when you go for help.
Safe Fuel Storage
- Use and store fuel with care.
- Summertime means using gas run tools, from lawn mowers and trimmers to saws and outboard motors.
- Leave fuels in their original containers or use only approved safety containers complete with tight fitting caps so vapors cannot escape.
- Never bring them inside your living area, and never store propane, gasoline or any other flammable liquid inside the home or cottage.
- Store them outside the house, away from any ignition sources.
- Never use gas near sparks, flames, hot engines/motors or any other source of static electricity.
- Never smoke while handling fuel.
- Never use gas to start a fire.
- Never use gas to clean paint brushes or any other articles
Every year in Ontario, people are injured needlessly while lighting their barbeques. The correct way to light your propane barbeque is to:
- Open the lid
- Strike your match or lighters
- Turn on the gas
- When you are finished barbequing, turn off the propane cylinder valve and then the barbeque burner. Always use and store your barbeque and propane cylinders outdoors.
Did you know that cooking is the number one cause of home fires? Most kitchen fires occur because people get distracted and leave their cooking unattended.
Your fire department asks you to keep a close eye on your cooking. If a pot catches fire, slide a lid over the pot to smother the flames, and then turn off the stove. Always wear tight-fitting or rolled-up sleeves when cooking. A dangling sleeve can easily brush against a hot burner and catch fire.
Be alert when cooking and follow these fire prevention safety tips:
- Never leave cooking unattended, stay in the kitchen
- If you must leave the kitchen, turn everything off.
- If a fire starts on the stove, place a tight fitting lid over the pan to smother the flames, then turn the burner off.
- Keep all debris and combustible items such as paper towels, dish towels and paper bags away from the stove area.
- Keep pot handles turned inward so they cannot be accidentally knocked off the stove.
- Keep young children away from the stove while preparing meals.
- When removing food from any appliance, always open the lid away from you, and protect your hands so steam does not burn you.
- Since the inside of food cooked in the microwave heats faster than the outside, be careful when serving.
- Always remember to wear tight-fitting or rolled-up sleeves when cooking. A dangling sleeve can easily brush against a hot burner and catch fire.
Every year in Canada fires are started because candles are left burning with no one watching. Fires are caused when very high flames from burning candles touch nearby curtains, party decorations or clothing. Fires are also started when the candle wax gets so hot it catches fire. Keep burning candles out of reach of children.
- Cut the candle wick short to prevent a high flame
- Candles with more than one wick close to one another are not safe and should not be used.
- Don't place burning candles close to curtains, lamp shades or party decorations.
- Candle Holders
- Use sturdy candle holders that won't tip over
- Place candle firmly in candle holders
- Don't use wood or plastic candle holders, they can break if the candle flame gets too hot.
Home Heating Safety
A Portable Space Heater - Heads Up
It is only natural to want to stay toasty warm on long winter nights and one way we do that is by using space heaters to add a little extra heat. As handy as space heaters are, they can be a hazard if improperly used so it is important to follow the manufacturer's instructions and always remember to stay safe while you stay warm.
- Only purchase or use electric space heaters that have been certified by a recognized regulatory body such as Canadian Standards Association (CSA)
- Never leave an operating space heater unattended and always turn off space heaters before leaving a room or going to sleep.
- Supervise children and pets at all times when a portable space heater is in use.
- Use proper fuel in kerosene space heaters.
- When using a space heater that burns fuel such as kerosene or propane, always ensure that it is approved for indoor use.
- Never use space heaters to dry flammable items such as clothing or blankets
- Keep all flammable objects at least one metre from space heaters
- If you use an extension cord make sure it is the right size a gauge to carry the electrical load being drawn by the space heater
- Never use an electrical space heater in a wet area or any areas that can be exposed to water.
Air Tight Is Too Tight!
Just like you need oxygen to operate properly, so do fuel burning in your home. When they don't get the oxygen they need to completely burn fuel such as wood, natural gas, propane or kerosene, carbon monoxide is produced. make sure your home has an adequate air supply... for you and your fuel burning appliances.
If your home is tightly sealed to make it energy efficient, consider investing in an air exchange system. Professionally installed change the air inside your home, usually every 24 hours, with a fresh supply without wasting heat.
When renovating or building, consider installing heating systems and appliances, such as fireplaces, that have a direct feed of air for combustion so they don't draw air from inside the home. The combustion chambers are sealed so they're safer and more efficient.
Be mindful that the air you exhaust from your home has to be replaced. Powerful exhaust fans in bathrooms and kitchens or hearth wood burning fireplaces can quickly vent large amounts of air. Some can actually create a negative pressure inside your home resulting in a back draft which will draw exhaust fumes back into the house.
What's the simplest way to ensure there is enough fresh air to go around? Open a window.
Choosing a Heating Contractor
Hire only heating contractors who are registered with the Fuels Safety Program of TSSA. If you are unsure if your heating contractor is registered, call TSSA at (416) 734-3300 or 1-877-682-TSSA (8772)
- Avoid "fly-by-nighters", especially strangers who show up at your door offering "special" deals. Always ask the heating contractor to provide identification.
- Always ask the heating contractor to provide identification
- Ask friends or your fuel supplier for a recommendation.
- Obtain at least three written estimates, outlining:
- the type of work to be done;
- who will be doing the work
- start the date and completion date
- Determine whether repairs are covered by a warranty or maintenance plan.
Carbon Monoxide Safety
Be a Battery Changer
No CO or smoke alarm, no matter how advanced the technology, can work if the batteries are dead, so remembering to change the batteries in your alarms is a very important safety procedure in your home.
Batteries need to be replaced once every year. A good habit to establish is to change the batteries every fall when you change your clocks.
How old is too old? Like most things, CO and smoke alarms wear out with age. They have to be replaced in order to ensure maximum effectiveness and safety for your family. Please check the manufacturer's instructions for information on when your particular carbon monoxide alarm or smoke alarm should be replaced.
CO alarms should not be installed beside smoke alarms or near fuel burning appliances. When choosing a CO alarm, look for the CSA Blue Flame mark and the reference “CSA 6.19-01” – the most up-to-date Canadian standard. This shows that the alarm meet recognized standards for safety.
Install carbon monoxide alarms adjacent to the bedrooms in your home or if there are bedrooms on more than one floor in your home then install CO alarms on those floor as well so you can hear the alarm
CO alarms should be installed as per manufacturer’s instructions. Follow the same manufacturer’s maintenance procedures as you would with smoke alarms.
Symptoms and Detecting Carbon Monoxide
What is carbon monoxide, and where does it come from? Carbon monoxide is a tasteless, colourless and odourless poisonous gas often referred to as "the silent killer". It is produced when fuels such as natural gas, oil, wood, propane and kerosene don't get enough air to burn up completely. Damaged or blocked venting as well as inadequate air flow can allow carbon monoxide to build up inside a home, a cottage camper or tent.
Always make sure you and your fuel burning appliances have an adequate air supply to prevent a CO hazard.
The best way to ensure that you and our family are not exposed to the dangers of carbon monoxide is to take the necessary steps to eliminate it at the source. Make maintenance of your fuel burning appliances, equipment and venting systems an absolute priority.
How do you detect carbon monoxide? In the absence of CO alarms, the only way to know if carbon monoxide is present is if the physical symptoms of CO poisoning are apparent. But by then it might be too late to avoid injury!
Minimize the risk by installing CO alarms. They will warn you of rising levels of carbon monoxide giving you and your family the time to escape the hazard and correct the problem. CO alarms are your second line of defence against CO hazards in your home, cottage, RV camper, boat or any setting where you use fuel-burning appliances.
CO alarms should not be installed beside smoke alarms or near fuel burning appliances. They should be installed near sleeping areas and according to manufacturer's instructions. If there are bedrooms on more than one floor of your home or cottage, then you need more than one CO alarm.
The Symptoms of CO Poisoning
Carbon monoxide inhibits the ability of your blood to absorb oxygen. The symptoms of CO poisoning are similar to the flu and include nausea, headache, burning eyes, confusion and drowsiness. Eventually CO poisoning can lead to unconsciousness and even death. The key difference is that with CO poisoning, there is no fever and the symptoms tend to disappear when the person gets fresh air.
Infants and children absorb carbon monoxide faster than adults due to their high metabolic rates so the signs will show up more quickly in children.
These are warning signs. If they appear, it is imperative to get everyone, including pets, away from the source of the CO and to fresh air immediately and call 911 or the local fire department.
The following information is provided as a courtesy by Emergency Services Education and Consulting Group, www.VFIS.com .
During the fall season people in the area will be enjoying the change of the leaves and the cooler temperature. Unfortunately, some autumn-related weather activities, such as hiking and camping, turning the furnace back on, cleaning the chimney, and trick-or-treating do present their share of hazards. To help ensure everyone in the community enjoys a safe autumn, the members of the Elizabethtown-Kitley Fire Department offer the following safety tips and suggest you post them where they are likely to be seen by your family members and co-workers.
Chimneys and Furnaces
Chimney maintenance is vital to your family's safety.
- Have your chimney inspected and cleaned on a regular basis.
- When possible, burn seasoned woods (dryness of the wood is more important than hard wood versus soft wood).
- Smaller, hotter fires will burn more completely and produce less smoke than larger fires.
- Do not burn cardboard boxes or trash, as they can spark a chimney fire.
- Install stovepipe thermometers, which help monitor flue temperatures where wood stoves are in use, then adjust burning practices as needed.
Don't get caught up in the holiday spirit - make sure your children trick-or-treat safely.
- Rather than buying a mask, use makeup to decorate children. That way, they can see more easily.
- If your kids go trick-or-treating after dusk, make sure they have a flashlight and are wearing retro reflective material. Dress children in warm, light coloured clothing, so that they may be easily seen when crossing the street.
- Do not purchase Halloween costumes and other items which are not marked "Flameproof" or "Flame-Retardant".
- Remind children to skip houses that are not well lit.
- Check candy before allowing kids to eat it.
- Avoid tricks that could cause bodily injury, destroy property, or cause a fire.
Hiking and Picnics/Camping
As you take in the fall's beautiful scenery, think ahead, be prepared, and stay safe.
- Check the weather forecast before heading outdoors for a hike. It is not safe to hike when thunderstorms or heavy snowfall is expected.
- Carry drinking water. Don't drink from streams, springs, or lakes without first properly treating the water.
- Observe wildfire from a safe distance. Don't try and get too close to wild animals.
- Stay on the trail- if you leave it, you may get lost.
- To help prevent food poisoning keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot. Don't store perishable foods in a hot car.
- Clean all surfaces and utensils that come into contact with raw meat or meat juices before re-using them.
- Wash hands frequently when preparing food, and before serving and eating.
- Keep kids away from grills and lighter fluid, and keep grills away from anything that can burn them.
- Be aware of tiny deer ticks that carry Lyme disease and know which symptoms to watch out for. When in a potentially infested area, apply insect repellant, wear light-coloured, long sleeved-shirts, pants and socks.
- Do not build a fire near tree trunks, fallen trees, or over hanging branches.
- When extinguishing a campfire, let it die down, then break up the coals or logs, spread the pieces, soak them with water, then cover the area with dirt or sand.
Back to School Safety
Parents must do some homework to keep their kids healthy and safe. Don't let safety "fall" by the wayside.
- Walk and ride to school safely. Obey traffic lights and signals, walk only in crosswalks, and listen to the crossing guard.
- If your kids bike to school, be sure they wear a helmet.
- If possible, always walk your child to the bus stop and pick them up as well.
- Keep backpacks light - a child's backpack should only be 5 to 10 percent of his or her body weight according to the American Chiropractic Association.
- A backpack with wheels is easy to maneuver and reduces back stress. If your child does choose to wear a backpack, utilize both straps. Slinging the backpack over one shoulder may cause spinal curvature.
Watch out for family pets as you prepare for the cold, festive days of fall.
- Many brands of antifreeze are highly toxic. Store new and unused antifreeze in a sealed container.
- Chocolate is a special treat for nearly all humans during Halloween and Thanksgiving, but it is toxic to dogs, cats, and birds.
- Holiday meals can be hazardous to pets. Chicken and turkey bones can get stuck and pierce the digestive tract. Rich foods can cause pancreatitis or bloating.
- Indoor pets not acclimated to winter temperatures should not be outside in cold weather for long periods. Outdoor pets can withstand fairly cold temperatures, but make sure they have proper shelter form wind, rain, and provide them with good bedding. Frostbite is a winter hazard to pets.
Yard work does not end simply because summer is over. Here are some safety tips for tackling autumn tasks around your home.
- When lifting heavy bags of mulch, use a wheelbarrow when possible, and remember to lift with your legs, not with your back.
- Be careful when pruning. Pruning from a ladder is especially dangerous.
- To avoid blisters, when doing yard work, wear gloves.
- If you are doing a lot of raking, try an ergonomic rake, which can be found at most hardware stores and garden centres.
The following information is provided as a courtesy by Emergency Services Education and Consulting Group, www.VFIS.com .
Winter means freezing temperatures, snow storms, icy roads and slippery sidewalks, all of which present a variety of health and safety hazards. The following tips are suggested to ensure that everyone in our community is safe and warm through the winter season.
Snow and ice, and extreme cold can make driving treacherous. In 1998, 131,000 motor vehicle crashes occurred during sleet and snowy conditions in the U.S.. Before winter, make sure your car is ready for the season with a tune-up, snow tires or tires with good tread, a charged battery and sufficient anti-freeze.
- Keep emergency gear in your gear, including a cell phone, flashlight, jumper cables, sand or kitty litter, ice scrapers/snow brush, small shovel, blankets, and warming devices. For longer trips take food, water, extra blankets and required medication.
- If you must travel in bad weather, drive slowly and let someone know your route and anticipated arrival time.
- Try to get the store before a storm hits.
- Carbon monoxide kills. Don't sit a parked car with engine running unless a window is open. Don't warm your car in the garage. If your car is outside, make sure the exhaust pipe and the area around it are free of snow.
- If you are stopped or stalled, light two flares, and place one at each end of the car. Stay in your vehicle and open a window slightly. Wrap yourself in blankets. Run your heater for a few minutes every hour to keep warm.
Ice and snow-covered roads and walkways can be serious safety hazards.
- Walk on sidewalks, if possible. If they are icy and you must take to the streets, walk against the flow of traffic and as close to the curb as you can.
- Wear a bright piece of outer clothing if you have to walk in the street or road. Dark winter colours are often hard for motorist to see.
- Don't wear a hat or scarf that blocks your vision or makes it hard for you to hear traffic.
- Ice and snow can alter road conditions making it hard for vehicles to stop or slow down. Before you step off the curb -- even to a stop sign or traffic light -- make sure approaching vehicles have come to a complete stop.
- Be aware that snowdrifts can turn familiar territory into an alien landscape, covering curbs and other potential hazards.
- Bending your knees a little and taking slower, shorter steps can greatly reduce your chances of falling.
Dress for the Cold
Walking in a winter wonderland won't be so wonderful if you aren't prepared for the weather. Not dressing properly can lead to hypothermia, a serious condition in which your body temperature cools down to abnormal levels.
- Wear several layers of loose-fitting, lightweight clothing, and wear mittens instead of gloves. Trapped, insulating air warmed by body heat is the best protection from cold.
- Wear a hat and make sure shoes or boots have nonskid soles.
- Change out of wet clothes as soon as possible.
Colder weather means it is time to turn on your furnace or other heating device. But take care, December, January and February are the leading months for home fires, and heating devices are often the culprit. With proper precautions you'll be safe and warm this season.
- Install a smoke detector and carbon monoxide alarm near your bedrooms and on each floor.
- Know the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning: headache, fatigue, nausea, dizziness, and shortness of breath.
- Have your heating system turned up each year. If you heat your home with a wood stove, have the chimney connected and flue checked each year and make sure the stove is placed on an approved board to protect your floor from heat.
- Your wood-burning fireplace should have a sturdy fire screen in place. Make sure your chimney and flue are inspected each year and cleaned, if needed. Burn only untreated wood. Never burn paper or pine branches: pieces can float out of the chimney and ignite your roof or your neighbour's as well as nearby trees.
- Do not use gas appliances such as ovens, ranges, or clothes dryers to heat your home.
- If you use a kerosene heater, never use gasoline, which can cause a fire or explosion. Use only water-clear 1-K grade kerosene. Never refuel the heater inside your home or when it is hot or in operation. Do not fill the tank above the "full" mark. keep a door open to the rest of the house or open a window slightly to reduce the risk of carbon monoxide build-up.
While snow shoveling can be good exercise, it can also be dangerous for optimists who take on more than they can handle.
- Dress warmly, paying special attention to feet, hands, nose and ears.
- Avoid shoveling snow if you are out of shape. If you have a history of heart trouble, do not shovel snow unless your doctor approves.
- Pace yourself and don't work to the point of exhaustion. Shoveling can raise your heart rate and blood pressure dramatically. Take frequent breaks.
- If possible, push snow in front of you. If you have to lift it, pick up small amounts and lift with your legs bend, not with your back. Do not toss snow over your shoulder or to the side.
- Don't drink alcohol while shoveling snow and don't smoke while shoveling.
Snow blowers or throwers aren't toys. These machines may help you efficiently remove snow from driveways and sidewalks, but they also cause thousands of emergency room visits each year.
- Make sure you understand your owner's manual safety procedures thoroughly.
- Be sure you have good visibility or light.
- Walk, never run.
- Keep the area clear of pets and people, especially children.
- Clear the area of all obstacles that can clog the chute.
- Never put your hand in the snow blower to remove snow or debris. Turn it off and wait a few seconds, then use a stick or broom handle.
- Never leave the snow blower unattended and don't let kids operate it.
- Dress property for the job. Wear boots that give you good footing on slippery surfaces and avoid loose fitting clothes that can get caught.
- Don't attempt to clear steep slopes.
The following information is provided as a courtesy by Emergency Services Education and Consulting Group, www.VFIS.com .
Spring is a great time to replace your smoke detector batteries make sure your fire extinguishers are placed in proper locations around your home, and ensure you have a working flashlight and battery powered radio for spring storms. By taking the right precautions when warmer weather beckons, you and those around you can enjoy a safer, healthier spring.
Cleaning for Safety
Nature is undergoing a fresh start and so are homeowners who are ready to clean up the debris that has been accumulating in basements, storage sheds, and garages over the winter.
- Household and pool chemicals, paints, and poisons should be property marked and stored under lock and key, away from children's reach. Dispose of any that are leaking, expired, or that look bad.
- When cleaning up hazardous chemicals wear rubber gloves and follow the safety direction on the packaging. Never mix chemicals in the same container. If you don't know how to dispose of them, seek outside advice. Never put them into the trash or pour down the drain.
- Make sure gasoline and cleaning fluids are well marked and stored in a cool, dry place, away from the house and out of reach of children and pets. Use only approved containers for gasoline storage.
- Never use gasoline to clean skin, clothes, auto parts or floors.
- Clean up work areas. Put dangerous tools, adhesives, matches or other work items away from children's reach.
- Check your barbecue grill for leaks and cracks, and be sure to store any propane tanks away from your house and garage.
- Remove all fire hazards, including stacks of rags, newspapers, and magazines. Pay special attention to the spaces around your furnace, hot water tank, fireplace, space heaters, and dryer as well as under the stairs.
Itching to get the yard into shape for the summer? Here are ways to help ensure your spring spruce-up is disaster-free.
- Limber up. Yard chores may seem easy, but they involve muscles you probably haven't used in a while.
- Always wear protective clothing when you handle pesticides and fertilizers.
- More than 60,000 people are treated in emergency rooms each year for lawn-mower injuries. Rake before you mow to prevent any stones and loose debris from launching into the air.
- Never operate a mower in your bare feet and avoid wearing loose clothing.
- Never start a mower indoors.
- When refueling your mower, make sure the engine is off and cool. Don't spill gasoline on a hot engine - and don't smoke while pouring gasoline.
- Never leave your mower operational while unattended.
- Don't use electrical mowers on wet grass.
- At least 55,000 people each year sustain injuries from trimmers, lawn edgers, pruners and powers saws. Read the manufacturer's instructions carefully before using the tools.
- Inspect the product for damage and don't use it if there are problems.
- Use proper eye protection.
- Make sure blade guards are in place on all cutting equipment.
- Don't let tools get wet unless they are labeled "immersible".
- Unplug all tools when not in use.
- Make sure the tool is in the "off" position before you plug it in.
- Store gasoline-powered equipment away form anything that uses a pilot light.
- Make sure you use the right saw for the task, and always wait for the saw blade to stop before pulling away from a cut to avoid kickback.
- When pruning trees, be careful not to let metal ladders or trimmers contact overhead wires.
- Before you do and "hands on" weed removal, make sure you know how to identify poison ivy, sumac, oak and similar toxic plants. Find out ahead of time how to treat the rashes they cause to reduce irritation
Ready for some outdoor exercise and adventure? Here are a few pointers.
- Winter's inactive muscles can take only so much strain. Don't overdo it - build up slowly so you don't have strains that can put you out of commission for some time.
- It may look appealing, but don't wander on frozen rivers and lake in the spring. The ice is beginning to thaw, and you never know just how thin the ice really is.
- Spring's extra rain and thawing snow can cause normally safe rivers, streams, and undercut by rushing water and give in your weight.
- Springtime is also severe weather time. If skies look threatening, check to see if a storm watch or warning has been issued before you initiate outdoor activities. If you're already outside and thunderstorms threaten, go immediately into a building or enclosed vehicle. For tornadoes, go to the nearest safe structure, or the basement or interior first-floor room of your home. If there's no time to follow these precautions, take cover in a ditch or depression in the ground.
Ready to do some home repairs? On average, about 145,000 people visit the emergency room each year, because of ladder mishaps. Here are a few safety tips:
- Read the manufacturer's instructions that come with your ladder. They contain guidelines for weight and height limits as well as for the proper use of their product.
- Inspect the ladder before using it to make sure that there are not loose or broken rungs.
- Make sure the ladder is the right height for the job. Many accidents happen when people overextend their reach because their ladders are too short.
- Make sure the ladder is completely open and that all of its feet are planted on a firm, level surface. Extension ladders should not be placed at an angle that is too extreme.
- Avoid using a metal ladder near electrical sources.
- Face the ladder when climbing down and make sure your weight is centered between two sides.
The following information is provided as a courtesy by Emergency Services Education and Consulting Group, www.VFIS.com .
Summer means lots of outdoor recreational activities, as well as a host of safety hazards that go along with them. Sun, heat and fair-weather activities such as swimming, biking, picnicking and lawn moving also present their hare of hazards. To help ensure everyone enjoys a safe summer, here are some tips:
Overheating can cause muscle cramps, chills, nausea and dizziness, among other symptoms. At its worst, it can lead to heat stroke, a medical emergency. Don't do too much, too soon.
- After long periods of inactivity during the winter the body is not ready for strenuous exertion - especially in hot temperatures.
- Drink plenty of water before and during hard or strenuous work in the heat. You'll need to drink more water than your thirst indicates.
- Take frequent small drinks, which are more effective than gulping down large amounts at once.
- When possible, schedule heavy work for the cooler hours of the day, such as early morning or late evening.
- Take frequent rests, lower the workload as the heat increases.
- When possible, start with less strenuous work and gradually build up the intensity so you can acclimatize yourself to the heat.
- Never leave children alone in a car during the summer - even for a few minutes with the windows rolled down.
Protect yourself from the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays. Overexposure can lead to eye problems, sunburn and even skin cancer.
- Use UV protective sunscreens with a protection factor of at least 15 whenever you are in the sun for long periods. Even on cloudy days UV rays can get through.
- Minimize your exposure when the sun's rays are the strongest, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Wear wide-brimmed hats in the sun; baseball caps don't cover enough of your face and neck.
- Choose sunglasses that block 99 to 100 percent of UV lights. Wraparound glasses are best.
- Babies under six months should be kept out of direct sunlight.
The Centres for Disease Control reports that drowning is the second leading cause of injury-related death among children 1-14 years old.
- Always swim with a buddy, never alone, even if you are an experienced swimmer.
- Never leave kids alone while they are in or near a pool, even if they can swim.
- Know your limits. Don't get overly tired.
- Don't swim if you are chilled, overheated, immediately after eating or in storms.
- Alcohol and swimming don't mix.
- Do not chew gum or eat while swimming, you could easily choke.
- Obey "no diving" signs. It means the area is unsafe for headfirst entries.
- Always enter the water feet first if you don't know the depth. Check for submerged obstacles.
- Always dive with your hands in front of your head.
- Surround your pool on sides with a sturdy 5 foot fence. Make sure young kids can't reach the gate latch.
- Keep rescue equipment (life preservers, long pole with hook on end) near your pool.
- Slips and trips are common on slippery surfaces. Discourage running in a pool area.
- Don't body surf in waves bigger than 3 feet, on sloped beaches or near sandbars.
Every year thousands of people - most of them children - are treated in emergency rooms for serious injuries related to fireworks. Fireworks (sparklers and firecrackers included) are not toys. We recommend they be used only by trained professionals. The only safe way to enjoy fireworks is at a distance. If you still plan on using fireworks and/or sparklers, despite these warnings:
- Purchase your fireworks from a reliable source; stay away from illegal explosives. "Firecrackers" are unsafe and illegal.
- Never experiment or make your own fireworks.
- Do not allow children to play with them.
- Read and follow all instructions on the label.
- Light fireworks outdoors away from houses and flammable materials. Be sure people and pets are out of range.
- Light only one firework at a time. Wear eye protections and gloves while lighting fireworks.
- Never throw or point fireworks at other people.
- Keep a bucket of water handy.
- Don't try to re-light or handle malfunctioning fireworks. Soak them with water and throw them away.
- Never ignite fireworks in a container, especially one made of metal or glass.
- Store fireworks in a dry cool place
- It is important to wear a protective helmet while bike riding.
- Wear a protective helmet when in-line skating and using scooters.
- Ride near the curb, single file, in the same direction as traffic.
- Keep to safe, less-traveled routes.
- Don't do stunts - they can lead to serious injury.
- Be alert to road hazards such as pot holes, rocks and glass that can cause you to lose control.
- Make yourself visible. Wear bright clothing during the day, wear a reflective vest or use reflective tape on clothes at night.
- Never ride at dusk without a headlight and red taillight or large reflector in the back.
- Know traffic laws and signals.
- Make sure your bike is well maintained.
- Carry an insect sting kit, if you have a known allergy. To decrease the risk of insect bites avoid wearing perfumes and clothes with floral patterns.
- To help prevent food poisoning, keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot. Don't store perishable foods in a hot car.
- Keep kids away from grills and lighter fluid.
- Keep grills away from anything that can burn.
- Be aware of tiny deer ticks that carry Lyme disease. When in a potentially infested area, apply insect repellant that contains deet, wear light-coloured, long sleeved -shirts, pants and socks, and know which symptoms to watch out for.
- Learn to identify poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac. Wash the contact area with soap and water as soon as possible.
- Do not build a fire near tree trunks, fallen trees or overhanging branches.
- When extinguishing a campfire, let it die down, then break up the coals or logs, spread the pieces, soak them, and the area with dirt or sand.
Each year about 200,000 children are treated in emergency rooms for playground equipment-related injuries.
- Make sure protective surfacing such as double-shredded bark mulch, wood or rubber chips, fine sand or fine gravel is six to twelve inches deep under and around all playground equipment.
- Make sure all equipment is carefully maintained and checked for loose hardware, projections, splinters, rust and chipped paint, moving parts that may crush or pinch, scattered debris and tree roots.
- Supervise and teach your child safe play.
Before you mow, clear the yard of rocks, sticks and anything else the mower might fling.
- Wait for grass to dry before mowing. Wet grass might make you slip or clog the mower chute.
- Clear a clogged chute using a stick -never your hands - with the mower off.
- With a riding mower, mow up and down the slope so you're less likely to tip.
- Never leave a running mower unattended.
- Keep kids and away while you're mowing.
- Never refuel a hot mower.
- Never mow in bare feet or sandals. Wear heavy-duty shoes with non-slip soles.
- Avoid wearing loose clothing that could get caught in the machine.
Summertime also means gas-run tools from lawn mowers and trimmers to weed-eaters and saws.
- Use an approved safety container with a self-closing lid so vapours cannot escape - and never bring gas inside your living quarters.
- Don't smoke while handling gas.
- Don't use gas near sparks, flames, hot surfaces and sources of static electricity.
- Don't use gas to start a fire.
- Don't use gas to clean paintbrushes.
In the event of an electrical storm -
- Get inside a house, large building or automobile.
- Don't stand near a single, tall tree or the tallest tree in a group.
- Get out of and away from water
In the event of a tornado -
- Buildings: Go to the basement, interior room or hallways on the lowest floor.
- Car/Mobile Home: Go immediately to a substantial structure or designated shelter.
- Outdoors: Lie flat in the nearest ditch or depression, cover your head with your hands.
In the event of a flash flood -
- Leave the building you are in immediately if ordered to evacuate.
- Go to higher ground, do not try to walk through flowing water more than ankle deep.
- Do not drive through flooded areas even if it looks shallow enough to cross.