This month, we’re offering a three-part series of tips for preparing for any emergency. This week: Fire. Next week: Earthquakes and other natural disasters. On November 24: Home security.
Your home is your refuge from the world, but you still need to make sure it’s actually safe. Start by creating an emergency plan (learn how at: PreparedBC.ca) then prepare for the worst, and hope for the best. Over the next three weeks we’ll look at home security and how to be prepared for natural disasters, starting with these tips for preventing and being prepared in case of fire.
- Install smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors on each floor of the house, including the basement and especially in bedrooms.
- Test these alarms often — preferably monthly — and replace any that don’t work. In any case, replace alarms every 10 years and their batteries once a year or sooner if needed.
- Keep detectors clean and unobstructed.
- Make sure everyone knows what each detector sounds like and what to do if it goes off.
- Place a fire extinguisher (rated for all fire types) in the kitchen and at least one on every floor — and make sure everyone in the family knows how to use them.
- Check the indicator on the pressure gauge yearly to make sure the extinguisher is charged.
- Replace fire extinguishers according to the manufacturer’s schedule or if they appear damaged. In any case, replace any fire extinguishers that are more than six years old — and mark the date of purchase on the new unit with a permanent marker.
- Consider installing a fire sprinkler system.
- Rid your home of fire hazards such as excess paper and household chemicals, and keep the space around heaters and other appliances clear.
- Once a year, review the condition of all your electrical cords and outlets; replace loose or frayed cords, cover outlets if you have small children, remove any cords that are tripping hazards and have an electrician check any outlets that may be faulty.
- If fire does break out, call 911.
- In case of wildfire: Report wildfires to *5555 on a cell or 1-800-663-5555 toll-free. Monitor the situation at bcwildfire.ca or @BCGovFireInfo on X (formerly known as Twitter) and follow any mandatory evacuation or other orders.