Fire Safety Information
You can prevent fires in your home by educating yourself and your family and ensuring that you practice fire safety. Planning for an emergency and having a home fire safety inspection are just some of the actions that you can take.
Replace damaged electrical cords and do not overload electrical circuits. Avoid running extension cords across doorways or under carpets. Unplug electrical appliances when not in use.
Space heaters should be at least three feet (one meter) away from walls and anything that can burn. Have the chimney and heating systems checked at least once a year and, if necessary, by trained professionals. Have a sturdy screen on your fireplace.
Escape Planning – Practice your escape plan!
Practicing your escape plan is important because fire can spread rapidly, leaving occupants with little time to escape once an alarm sounds.
Smoke Alarms Save Lives
The majority of fatal home fires happen at night when people are asleep. By giving you time to escape, smoke alarms increase the chance of surviving a home fire by almost 50%
Christmas Fire Safety
Planning for the holidays is a busy and joyous time. However, the extra combustibles such as a Christmas tree, ornaments, decorations, wrapping paper, plus additional heat sources like lights, extension cords and candles, and the parade of people going in and out of your home calls for more safety precautions. To help make this holiday season safe and happy for you and your family, we at Port Coquitlam Fire/Rescue offer you the following guidelines for home holiday safety.
Choosing a Christmas Tree
If you must purchase a live tree there are some very important fire safety points to remember:
- Select a fresh Christmas tree and greenery.
- Look for a trunk sticky with sap and for green needles that bend and are secure to the branches.
- Kick, tap or thump the base and see how many needles fall off. If excessive needles fall off the branches, DON’T BUY IT! If the tree is moist, it is less likely to catch fire.
- Cut the base of the tree at a 45-degree angle. Place your tree in a container with water and keep the water level above the cut. Spraying the tree with a non-toxic flame retardant is excellent insurance against a tragic mishap.
- The maximum length of time the tree should be left up is three weeks. When buying decorations, check for “flame retardant” qualities or spray them with a non-toxic flame retardant.
- Inspect the tree for dryness daily. Place trees a safe distance away from stoves, radiators, heating vents, fireplaces and any other heat source that might dry the tree.
- Keep a fire extinguisher near by and be sure you know how to use it. (Pull Aim Squeeze Sweep, did you PASS?) In case of fire, remember you have only seconds to put it out or GET OUT!
Be Mindful of Open Flames
Keep candles and other open flames away from decorations. Never leave burning candles unattended and always supervise children when using candles. Keep your wood stove door closed and your fireplace screened. Make sure you keep your firebox clean and have your chimney cleaned annually by a qualified professional. Make sure that your Christmas stockings are not hung directly above the fire.
Inspect all wiring on holiday lights. Defective, worn or frayed electrical wiring should be discarded. Be sure to use fixtures specifically designed and CSA approved for outdoor use if you decorate your house, trees or yard. Use no more than three sets of lights on any one-extension cord. Also, don’t run electrical cords under rugs. Be sure all lights are turned off before you go to bed or leave the house.
Other Holiday Tips
- While you are buying batteries for holiday toys and gifts, pick up extras for your smoke alarms.
- Smoke alarms, fire extinguishers; smoke escape hoods, fire escape ladders, flame-retardants, etc. make excellent Christmas presents. Can you think of a more caring gift?
- During parties, provide guests who insist on smoking with large, deep ashtrays and check them frequently. Empty the ashtrays into a metal container with a lid or flush them down the toilet but never empty them into the garbage.
- Christmas wrapping and decorations can be highly combustible and easily ignited – DO NOT BURN THEM IN YOUR FIREPLACE
- Before the start of each heating season, have all home heating systems and chimneys inspected and cleaned if necessary.
- When using portable space heaters, keep anything that can burn – including people, pets, and furniture – a safe distance away.
- Do not overload electrical circuits or extension cords.
- Make fire safety a priority in the kitchen. Do not leave cooking food unattended. The kitchen can be a very busy area. To avoid accidents, always remember to turn pot handles to the back of the stove. Roll up sleeves to avoid coming into contact with open flame or hot elements.
Other Safety Tips
What To Do During An Emergency
If you hear the fire alarm in the building – react immediately! If an alarm sounds, you see smoke or fire, exit the building immediately in a calm and orderly manner. Use the exit closest to you – it does not need to be the main entrance. Once outside, stay outside. Go to your meeting place then phone the Port Coquitlam Fire Department by dialing 9-1-1 from outside the building.
If you discover a fire in the building – immediately sound the building fire alarm system by activating the nearest fire alarm pull station. Call the Port Coquitlam Fire and Emergency Services by dialing 9-1-1. State your name. Give the address where the fire is. Provide information about the fire (i.e. where it is in the building, how fast it is spreading, people trapped, etc.).
Get out, stay out! Under no circumstances should you ever go back into a burning building. Let the firefighters conduct rescue operations. They are trained for these situations and properly equipped.
Do not use the elevator; use the nearest exit stairs. WALK…do not run. Close all doors behind you. Exit in quiet, orderly manner. When you leave the building, move away from the door to allow others behind you to emerge from the exit. Do not re-enter the building for any reason unless Fire Department personnel have advised you that it is safe.
Gasoline Fire Safety
Gasoline is a common fuel around the home, powering our lawnmowers, weed trimmers and other tools.
Please observe the following safe handling tips for gasoline:
- Store gasoline in an approved container, in a detached structure away from heat sources.
- Never leave a container of gas in direct sunlight or in a car trunk.
- When filling containers, be at least 3m from ignition sources and fill to no more than 90%.
- Don’t use gasoline to start a fire or pour it on an existing fire. Flames can rush up the stream and ignite the container in your hand.
- Putting water on a gasoline fire will make it spread. Use a BC class fire extinguisher.
- Unwanted gasoline must be taken to a hazardous waste disposal centre.
Kitchen Fire Safety
Never leave cooking foods unattended. Oil or fat can ignite. If you are faced with a grease fire, carefully slide a lid over the pan and turn off the heat source. Always turn pot handles to the back of the stove when cooking to avoid pots being pulled or knocked off the appliance. Never leave hot liquids or food unattended or at the edge of a table or counter where a child may pull them down. While cooking, avoid wearing loose fitting sleeves that may contact stove burners and ignite.
Water Temperature Safety
When running a bath, always run the cold into the tub first, then add hot water to the desired temperature. Before placing a child in the bathtub, test the temperature of the water by moving your hand through the water for several seconds. If the water feels hot, add cold water until the temperature feels comfortable.
Halloween Fire Safety
- Purchase costumes that are flame resistant.
- Avoid costumes with long trailing pieces that may easily ignite.
- When constructing a costume for children, always keep fire safety in mind.
- Children should not carry candles as a light source or as part of a costume. Rather, provide your child with a flashlight that can safely light the way.
- Educate children to stay clear of open flames and other heat sources.
- Ensure that children know how to perform STOP, DROP, and ROLL should their clothes catch on fire. (If your clothes catch on fire: STOP immediately, DROP to the ground, and ROLL over and over to extinguish the flames.)
Celebrate wisely this Halloween. Teach children that fireworks are not toys and that if they find fireworks, they should avoid touching them and tell an adult. It is unsafe for children to pick up fireworks and bring them to an adult.
- Only adults should discharge fireworks.
- Be sure to choose a safe area to discharge fireworks. This safe area should be a bare area of ground away from buildings, overhead obstructions, trees, vehicles, dry grass, and other flammable objects.
- A large bucket of water, sand, or a garden hose should be ready.
- Spectators should watch from a safe distance.
- Never point or throw fireworks at people, pets, cars, or buildings.
- Never hold fireworks in your hand when lighting them.
- Dispose of spent fireworks in a container of water.
- Avoid decorating with candles or torch lights.
- Ensure that combustible Halloween decorations such as crepe paper, cornstalks, and dried flowers are kept well away from sources of heat. Keep all exits clear of decorating materials.
- Purchase and install working smoke alarms, and practice home escape plans.
- Ensure that all children in your home know the location of the exits should an emergency arise.
Barbecue Fire Safety
As barbecue season begins, the Port Coquitlam Fire Protective Services Division wants to remind everyone how important it is for the entire family to be savvy about outdoor cooking. All outdoor grills can be extremely dangerous if not cared for and used properly.
Safety at the grill
- Never store combustible materials next to the barbecue.
- Before covering or storing your barbecue, make sure it has been shut off, is completely cool and/or has no hot coals.
- Never leave the barbecue unattended when in use.
- Keep gas hoses away from hot surfaces and hot grease.
- Keep children and pets away from the gas valve and the grill.
- Keep loose clothing away from the hot barbecue.
- Don’t put water on a grease fire – it will only cause flames to flare. Use an approved fire extinguisher or baking soda.
- Don’t operate your barbecue near wooden fences or walls, beneath a combustible roof, under a tree, near vinyl siding or in an enclosed space (such as a garage).
- When finished, first turn off the gas valve to allow gas in the hoses to burn off before turning off the burner controls.
- Clean the burners and grill regularly to minimize the risk of grease fires.
Before using your barbecue for the first time this season, ensure the barbecue is a certified cooking appliance. Follow manufacturer’s specifications for lighting, use and maintenance. Check thoroughly to ensure that all hoses are clear and firmly attached and that there are no leaks or blockages.
Before having a propane cylinder filled, check it for dents, gouges or other signs of disrepair. When having a cylinder filled, ensure that the cylinder is not overfilled. Also, check the expiry date. You should never use or refill a cylinder that is older than ten years.
Setting up your BBQ
Check to ensure all connections are tight BEFORE turning on the gas. Leaks can be detected by dabbing the connections with a solution of soapy water and turning on the gas momentarily. If bubbles occur, there is a leak that must be fixed before the grill is used. NEVER store spare propane cylinders indoors or near a barbecue, heat source or open flame.
Always set up barbecues in an open area at least 3 metres (10 feet) from any house, shed, fence, tree or any other combustible material such as leaves or brush. Be aware of the wind blowing sparks. It’s a good idea to keep a fire extinguisher within handy reach.
To prevent burns, use long-handled barbecue tools and/or flame retardant mitts. Do not wear loose clothing and watch for dangling apron strings and shirttails.
- Never use water to control grease flare-ups on gas barbecues.
- if you live in a condo, townhouse or apartment complex, be aware of the regulations for barbecuing.
- Be sure all children know how to dial 911 for any emergency situation.
- Pursuant to Section 5.2.2 of the Fire Protective Services Bylaw outdoor cooking of foods in barbecues or grills using propane, natural gas or charcoal is permitted.
Location and Mailing Address
#1 Fire Hall, 1725 Broadway Street
Port Coquitlam BC V3C 2M9
Administration Offices Business Hours:
8:00 am to 4:00 pm, Monday to Friday (excluding statutory holidays)