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Fire safety tips to protect your home

In Calgary, a recent string of house fires has people thinking about fire safety in the home.

Carol Henke, public information officer with the Calgary Fire Department, says kitchen fires are the most common residential call for the fire department, “and often it’s because people leave their cooking unattended.”

She says someone will put oil in a pan to heat up, and once the oil reaches its ignition temperature, it bursts into flames.

People often make things worse by trying to carry the pan out of the house, risking burns and potentially spreading the fire if they panic and drop the pan.

In this situation, Henke says you should put a cover on the pan of burning oil and turn off the heat. If flames have spread out of control, get everyone out of the house and call 911.

The most common cause of outdoor fires is improper disposal of smoking materials, according to Henke.

People often put out cigarettes in planter pots or combustible containers, or ones that are metal, but which have so many cigarette butts in them they can catch fire.

If something does cause a fire in your home, Henke says “having working smoke alarms on every level is what is going to alert you to the fact there is a fire.”

The way new homes are built has changed for the better when it comes to fire safety.

After an Edmonton fire in 2007 started in a four-unit condo complex, eventually destroying 18 nearby townhomes and damaging 70 houses, the province updated building, fire and electrical codes.

Rick Gratton, senior development manager of Calgary Homes for Brookfield Residential, says many of the changes relate to spatial separation.

Gratton says depending on how close the exterior of a house will be to the property line, there are limits on the number of side windows it can have, since openings in the walls allow fire to spread to an adjacent home more easily.

Gratton says tightly spaced homes also require increased use of fire-resistant sheeting and cladding. The codes even dictate materials needed during the construction phase, because partially built homes are especially susceptible to fire damage.

He says soffits are now required to be closed in to prevent fire from spreading into attics, and attached garages must be drywalled inside.

For more information, visit www.calgary.ca/fire.

2 COMMENTS

  1. IMHO regular check and maintenance (Battery replacement) of fire alarm detectors goes long way besides host of other proactive and diy measures and steps. We bought our home from a very reputable builder and while I was checking on the alarms and replacing batteries during time change simultaneously and out of curiosity and to see the compatible and comparable models as the alarm has bold lettered warning to replace the alarm with new one after 10 years, I just entered the model number of the existing alarm into a search engine and to my shock the very same alarms were recalled few years back and unbeknownst to us, we were lucky and blessed that nothing happened, what I was just wondering that how to stop this happening to anyone, these must be a better mechanism in place, had I not Googled the model number it could be worse. Please be proactive and involve family members and kids from the young age I.e. about the awareness and importance of it. Thank you for the article above.

  2. I agree PK Biring. Safety is something you need to proactively do and also inform others of how to do it as well. Why not keep yourself safe and other households while you are at it considering if those other households catch on fire your household can also. It is good that you took a moment to look into your Alarm so much as it is really important to keep your kids and family members safe.

    Good Article in general and spreading the word about alarms, extinguishers are a great idea. My understanding actually in some jurisdictions builders are now required to put in Sprinker systems. That will be a massive benefit in the future!

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