Take the fire safety test

February 24, 2013 -

Fire hazards may be lurking where you least expect them. If you've ever experienced a fire in your home, you know that you may only have seconds to escape safely, so early detection is vital.

Single family, semi-detached and town homes in Ontario, whether owner-occupied or rented homes, must have a working smoke alarm on every storey, including the basement, and outside all sleeping areas.

As a home inspector, I often see homes with few if any smoke detectors or ones that are out of date or not working.

Although the law requiring carbon monoxide detectors hasn’t been passed, one should be installed within three meters of bedroom doors and not next to the furnace as I often see.

With the CO detector located in the basement, chances are you will not hear it when you’re asleep on the main or second floor.

The Office of the Fire Marshal of the Ontario Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services has put together a checklist to help you evaluate your home’s level of fire safety and preparedness.

You should take a few minutes to inspect your home for fire hazards. As you go from room to room, circle your responses to the questions below.

Cooking Safety

Does an adult always stay in the kitchen when food is cooking on the stove?

Yes / No

Are stove tops and nearby counters clear and uncluttered?

Yes / No

Do you keep a proper fitting lid near the stove when you are cooking?

Yes / No

Are pot handles turned inward so they can’t be bumped?

Yes / No

Are curtains, utensils, paper towels and other things that can burn well away from the stove?

Yes / No

Is there a “kid-free” zone of one metre around the stove when adults are cooking?

Yes / No

Heating safety

If space heaters are used in your home, are they at least one metre away from things that can burn, including curtains, furniture, pets?

Yes / No

Does your fireplace have a sturdy screen to catch sparks?

Yes / No

Has your chimney been inspected and cleaned during the past year?

Yes / No

Has your furnace been serviced by a professional in the past year?

Yes / No

Are propane tanks, gasoline, or other fuels stored safely outside your home?

Yes / No

Candle Safety

Are candles placed in sturdy holders, out of reach of children and pets so they can’t be knocked over?

Yes / No

Do you cover lit candles with glass chimneys, to prevent people or objects from brushing against the flame?

Yes / No

Do you always extinguish candles before leaving the room or going to bed?

Yes / No

Smoking, Matches and Lighters

Are matches and lighters stored out of the reach of children, in a locked cabinet?

Yes / No

If you smoke, do you have just one lighter or book of matches and keep it with you at all times?

Yes / No

Do you encourage smokers in your household to smoke outside?

Yes / No

Electrical Safety

Are electrical cords in good condition, without cracks or frayed areas?

Yes / No

Are extension cords used safely? (Are they not under carpets or across doorways?)

Yes / No

Are kitchen appliances such as the kettle, coffee-maker, toaster oven and microwave, plugged into separate outlets?

Yes / No

Home Fire Escape Planning

Are all of the exits in your home clear of furniture, toys and clutter?

Yes / No

Do you have a home fire escape plan that includes two ways out of every room (if possible)?

Yes / No

Have you picked a safe place outside where everyone will meet after exiting the home?

Yes / No

Have you practised a home fire drill with everyone in your household?

Yes / No

Smoke Alarms

Does your home have working smoke alarms on every storey and outside all sleeping areas?

Yes / No

Do you have a designated person to test the smoke alarms monthly and change the batteries at least once per year?

Yes / No

Are the batteries working in all your smoke alarms? (Test the battery by pushing the test button. If there is no button, press the centre of the cover.)

Yes / No

 

Add up the number of “yes” responses in your checklist. Give yourself one point for every “yes” response.

Our Score: _________

How safe is your home?

If you answered yes to all of the 27 checklist questions above, congratulations! You are a fire safety expert!

If you answered yes to at least 20 questions, you’re well on your way to a fire safe home.

If you answered yes to between 15 and 20 questions, you’re on the right track but there is still some work to be done.

If you answered yes to fewer than 15 questions, there are some important changes that need to be made around your home to make sure everyone in your home is safe from fire.

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