Fire fatalities increase during pandemic

Fire fatalities up by 65% across the province since last year

COVID connected to fire increase?
The City of Pickering’s Fire Chief is urging residents to keep fire safety top of mind as the province sees a 65% jump in fire fatalities since this time last year, with 17 Ontarians dying in fires in March alone.

“I urge residents to be vigilant in preventing fires in their home, especially now with so many people doing their part and staying home as much as possible to stop the spread of COVID-19,” said Fire Chief John Hagg. “…test (their) smoke alarms and practice (their) home fire escape plans.”

More fire fatalities
There were 31 fire fatalities in Ontario between January – May, 2019, compared to 51 over the same time period this year.

“Pickering residents have a responsibility to ensure that these types of tragedies don’t happen,” continued Fire Chief John Hagg. “It is critical that residents do everything they can to get informed, and know what to do to prevent a fire from happening in the home, and the necessary actions to take if one starts.”

Fire Safety Tips

Reduce fire risks in your home:

  • Always stay in the kitchen when you are cooking. Unattended cooking is a leading cause of home fires.
  • Keep a close eye on anyone drinking alcohol and attempting to cook or smoke.
  • Encourage smokers to smoke outside the home and outside the garage. Thoroughly extinguish all smoking materials in water or sand.
  • Always blow out candles before leaving the room.
  • Avoid overloading electrical outlets. Extension cords should be used only as a temporary connection. Avoid running electrical cords under rugs, which can damage the cords and cause a fire.
  • Ensure items that can burn are at least one metre away from space heaters.
  • Do not attempt to sterilize or decontaminate facemasks for re-use by heating them in a microwave oven. Various fabric or metal components can overheat or create sparks and cause a fire if heated in a microwave.
  • Make sure your smoke alarms work
    Test smoke alarms monthly by pressing the test button. Only working smoke alarms can give you the early warning you need to safely escape a fire in your home.

Practice your home fire escape plan

  • Ensure everyone knows two ways out of each room, if possible.
  • All exits must be unobstructed and easy to use.
  • Determine who will be responsible for helping young children, older adults, and anyone who needs assistance to escape.
  • Choose a meeting place outside, such as a tree or a lamppost, where everyone can be accounted for.
  • Call the fire department from outside the home, from a cell phone or a neighbour’s home.
  • Once out, stay out. Never re-enter a burning building.
  • If you live in an apartment or high-rise building, talk to the building superintendent to learn about the emergency procedures outlined in the building’s fire safety plan.

Councillor Shaheen Butt

City of Pickering

This entry was posted in HEALTH, SAFETY. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *