Wednesday, October 26, 2016

5 Ways to Stay Fire Safe on Halloween

Bison's 5 ways to stay safe on Haloween

Halloween is coming up fast, and whether you’re spending the day giving out candy, hosting a Halloween get-together for your friends, or taking your little ones out Trick-or-Treating, it’s important to make sure to include fire safety as an essential part of your All Hallows Eve planning.

How can you stay fire safe this Halloween? Keep reading to find out:

1. Be Careful When Choosing Costumes

When choosing costumes, wigs, and accessories for your Halloween costume, make sure to check the labels to see that they are flame-retardant or flame-resistant. That way even if they come into contact with burning candles or lighters, they won’t catch fire.

It’s also important to to make sure that the costumes you purchase have long, trailing sections which may ignite easily. Avoid cloaks and capes which are too big, and sleeves and skirts which are longer than necessary.

2. Be Mindful of Decorations

Some steps you can take are:

  • Keep combustible decorations like corn stalks, crepe paper, and dried flowers away from any heat sources.
  • Avoid crowding exits with decorating materials which could catch on fire and prevent escape.
  • If you’re using candles make sure to use candle holders, decorative candles, and lights which have been certified by the Underwriter’s Laboratory of Canada, or the Canadian Standards Association.

3. Be Cautious with Candles

While using real candles might feel more seasonally appropriate, placing burning candles around your home can create hotspots for potential fires.

Some other candle safety tips are:

  • Never leave candles burning unattended
  • Blow out your candles after four hours of use
  • Cut candle wicks short to prevent high flames
  • Use long matches to light candles inside of Jack-O-Lanterns
  • Keep candles, lighters, and matches out of reach of small children
  • Never leave a child in a room unattended with a burning candle

4. Party Responsibly

Hosting a Halloween party is a great excuse to dress up and get together with friends, but if you’re planning to host a party this season make sure to follow these steps in order to stay safe:

  • Keep exits clear of decorations and never block escape routes
  • Make sure that children and guests know the locations of all exits and the emergency route
  • Double-check your smoke alarms before guests arrive to make sure they are working properly

5. Practice STOP, DROP and ROLL

This is essential fire safety for every person, no matter what your age, but Halloween is a great time to review the steps with your kids and family to make sure that they know exactly what to do in case of a fire.

If your clothes catch on fire you should:

  • STOP immediately. Don’t run or move, as motion can increase the flames.
  • DROP to the ground. Cover your face with your hands when you hit the ground in order to protect your eyes, nose, and mouth from the flames and smoke.
  • ROLL back and forth. Rolling will extinguish the flames; keep rolling until the flames have been extinguished completely. 

Stay safe thanks to the expertise at Bison Fire Protection and call (204) 237-3473 for service today.

Posted by Rob Read at 4:25 PM 0 Comments

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Bison's Tips for Closing the Cottage

Fall is officially here, and many of us are going through the rituals involved with this time of year: carving pumpkins, hosting Thanksgiving, digging up the garden, and closing up the cottage.

For many people throughout Manitoba and Ontario, especially, cottage season runs from mid-April until mid-October (of the end of the month if we’re lucky) and around this time of year families are making the final trek to “close up” their cottage for the winter season.

If a weekend trip out to cottage country is in your near future, take a look at this list of tips to keep your cottage safe and protected against fires during your absence:

Turn Off Your Electrical System

Some cottage owners choose to turn off their electricity entirely by throwing the main switch located in their fuse box. If this is your choice this season, make sure to turn off all major appliances, gas fireplaces, your water heater, and any electrical space heaters or ductless mini split AC systems in any of your rooms.

Ensuring that these items are turned off will help ensure a smooth and error-free startup next season, and reduced the likelihood that an issue with your electrical system will cause a fire over the winter months. This is especially true with space heaters, which may turn on during cold weather and start fires.

Additionally, make sure to check your power lines and any exterior power lines or cables for damage. Put away any wires which will be unused during the winter, and inspect any visible wiring connected to outdoor lights and the like. Make sure to call an electrician if you notice any issues such as damage or fraying.

Clear Away Underbrush & Mow Your Grass

If you have lots of leaves, tree branches, and shrubs surrounding your cabin we advise cleaning them up and trimming them to the best of your ability before leaving the area unattended for the next few months.

While it’s less likely that a fire will ignite during the cold, damp winter months, it’s important to remember that leaves and tree branches are still flammable, and can ignite easily as a result of a spark from a frayed wire. It’s also important to give your lawn (if you have one) a last mow before departing for the season, as longer grass can help fires travel faster.

Take Photos of Everything

In the unfortunate event of a fire it’s important to take photos of everything that was in your cottage when you closed it up for the season.

Most cottage owners have insurance on their cottage and property which will cover the cost of any items lost in a fire, but one of the easiest ways to make sure you can claim everything is to take photos of the layout of your cottage and take notes about which pieces of furniture were in which room when you left.

For help staying fire-safe at home and at work, contact Bison Fire Protection at (204) 237-3473.

Posted by Rob Read at 9:08 AM 0 Comments

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Fire Prevention Week Safety Tips

Every October the week between October 9th - 15th is observed in Canada and the United States as National Fire Safety Week.

According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) on average home fires account for 30% of all fires across the country, and account for 73% of all fire-related deaths in Canada. These statistics make Fire Prevention Week an especially important time, as it’s the perfect time to review how prepared you are to handle a fire, and to take any necessary steps to keep your home protected against fires.

Below are our top 10 ways that you can make the most of Fire Prevention Week and stay fire safe:

1. Install smoke detectors and check them regularly

Make sure that you have smoke detectors installed in every area of your home, and that there is one present in every bedroom.

Test your smoke alarms once a month, at least, to make sure that they will alert you to the presence of any smoke or fires in your home. Double-check the batteries and replace them with fresh ones whenever you change your clocks in the spring and fall, and replace your smoke alarms every 10 years, at least.

2. Put Together a Safety Kit

Make sure that a kit with food, water, a thermal blanket, and other necessities is well-stocked and ready to use in the event of an emergency which causes you to evacuate your home.

3. Create a ‘Fire Plan’

Put together a fire evacuation plan and discuss it with your family and loved ones. Regularly practice fire drills and make sure that everyone knows the appropriate exits, and where to meet outside of the home in the event of a fire.

4. Install the Right Light Bulbs

Light bulbs which are a higher wattage than the maximum indicated on the fixture or inside the lamp can easily start fires inside the home, so always be mindful that you are using the correct bulbs for each fixture.

5. Store Your Flammable Materials Correctly

Make sure to keep solvents, gasoline, and other flammable waste at least 10 metres from your home at all times in order to keep them from igniting accidentally.

6. Be Careful When You’re Cooking

Be mindful of the oils you use when cooking, and use your kitchen safely by closely monitoring any deep-fryers or flammable oils you may be using to cook your food.

7. Keep an Eye On Flammable Areas

Clean out the lint drawer in your dryer, never leave candles burning unattended, and use space heater according to their safety directions.

8. Remove Dry Leaves

Rake up any dry leaves on your property and dispose of them safely. If you burn leaves, make sure to check out our post on How to Burn Leaves Safely.

9. Check Your Home Inventory

Take photos of every room in your home and make a detailed list of your possessions and furniture in the event of a fire. That way you can make sure to claim everything that may be damaged.

10. Inspect and Clean Your Chimney Flues

If you have a chimney installed in your home, ensuring that no blockages or build up are present are essential for preventing fires.

Trust in the professionals at Bison Fire Protection to keep you safe this season and call (204) 237-3473 for service.

Posted by Rob Read at 10:20 AM 0 Comments

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Safely Enjoy Your Indoor Fireplace

Bison's Fireplace Safety

As the temperatures begin to dip many of us turn to our indoor fireplaces to keep us warm and create a welcoming, cozy atmosphere for our homes.

However, increased fireplace use should always begin with a refresher in fire safety, and homeowners should be aware of how to create a safe fire, and the hazards of unplanned fires. Following these tips can not only save your home and possessions from damage, but they can also help save your life:

Have Your Chimney Maintained

The first and most important thing to do before you begin using your fireplace is to have it professionally inspected and maintained by a qualified professional.

If you have a wood burning fireplace, contact a professional chimney sweep to perform a thorough inspection of the inside of your fireplace, as well as the outside. If you have a gas fireplace, check the manufacturer’s information about the appropriate professional to contact to help you maintain it.

Keep in mind that fall is a busy season for many professional in the fireplace industry, so try to book as soon as you can so that you can begin safely using your fireplace.

Use Fireplace Screens

Fireplace screens are exactly what they sound like: they are screens which are placed in front of your fireplace in order to keep sparks and other fire debris inside the fireplace and not on your carpet, wood floor, or furniture.

Stay With Your Fire

Never leave a fire unattended, as they can spread quickly and even leaving the room for a few minutes can be long enough to cause serious damage and health risks. If you absolutely must leave the room, try to be as quick as possible, and if you have company over ask them to mind the fire while you’re in the other room.

Don’t Use Gasoline to Start a Fire

Attempting to light a fire with gasoline is one of the most dangerous things you can do when it comes to putting yourself at risk of a fire or getting burned. Not only is liquid gas highly flammable, but the fumes are, as well; meaning that the air around your fireplace is just as flammable as the gasoline you’re pouring into it. Once a match is struck the fumes can (and often do) explode violently.

Repair Cracks in Your Fireplace

Maintaining the integrity of your fireplace and chimney is essential to keeping your home safe while your fireplace is in use. Some repairs can be performed using “DIY” methods, but if the damage to your fireplace is extensive, or you aren’t completely sure about how to repair it yourself, involve a professional who can assist you.

Have Your Gas Fireplace Inspected

Just because your home has a gas-burning fireplace doesn’t mean that you can forgo annual maintenance. In fact, because gas is both extremely flammable and dangerous to inhale, it’s important to have all gas lines and connections inspected before you begin using it.

For more information about staying fire safe, contact the experts at Bison Fire Protection at (204) 237-3473.

Posted by Rob Read at 8:24 AM 0 Comments