Home Safety Tips

In the Kitchen

Most house fires start in the kitchen. Cooking pots must never be left unattended. Always keep the handle of pots turned to the back. Always have a fire extinguisher located nearby the kitchen. Have it checked annually!

Matches & Lighters

Many serious and fatal burns to children result from playing with fire. History has shown that children as young as two or three are capable of starting fires with matches or lighters. Parents should store all matches and lighting devices out of the reach and sight of children. Children must be taught that matches and lighters are for adult use only. Remember, always set a good example for your children when using fire!

Smoke Detectors

A working smoke detector can save your life and the lives of those that you love! You should have at least one smoke detector on every level of your home. Check them once a month to ensure that they work and change the batteries in all detectors annually, even if the battery appears to work!

For more information on smoke alarms, check out Residential Fire Safety Planning guide to help you be well prepared.

Although smoke detectors in single family homes are not required to be monitored under the BC Fire Code, many homeowners choose to have a monitored fire alarm.  If this applies to you, ensure that your monitoring company is instructed to attempt to contact you or a designated person at your home, or a trusted neighbour, in order to verify whether a sounding fire alarm is a false, or “unwanted” alarm.  Many false alarms are due to system malfunction, operator error, cooking, steam, or dust on a detector.  These unwanted alarms create a burden for the Fire Service, preventing the department from being available to respond to a true emergency.  Further, homeowners are billed under the provisions of the City of Pitt Meadows Fire & Life Safety Bylaw No. 2405 for false alarms, with fines of up to $500 per incident.  If the monitoring company cannot reach a contact person, they must then immediately contact fire dispatch.  Fire crews will then respond.

Read the Office of the Fire Commissioner’s Bulletin on Smoke Alarm and Carbon Monoxide Safety here

Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Did you know that in addition to a smoke detector, you also need a CO detector if you have:

  • a gas range and/or propane appliances;
  • an attached garage or carport;
  • a gas or oil water heater;
  • a gas or oil furnace; and/or
  • a wood or gas fireplace.

Carbon monoxide is a colourless, odourless and tasteless gas that is produced as a by-product of incomplete combustion of many types of common fuels.  Consider purchasing a combination smoke/CO alarm with a voice alert feature, as this protects from both fire and CO dangers.  Whether you have a combination unit or separate smoke and CO alarms, ensure that one of each is installed in a location that is audible from all sleeping areas. Consider installing these units in bedrooms if you sleep with bedroom doors closed.  Early symptoms of CO poisoning include headaches, nausea and fatigue.  If you are experiencing any of these symptoms accompanied by your CO alarm sounding, call 911.  If you are not experiencing any of these symptoms and your CO alarm is sounding, call FORTIS BC at 1-800-663-9911, and open windows while you wait for FORTIS to arrive.

It is very important to note that smoke and carbon monoxide alarms DO NOT last forever.  Check the age of every alarm in your home.  If smoke alarms are 10 years or older and CO alarms are 5-7 years or older, replace them immediately.

Home Fire Drills

Practice Home Fire Drills regularly. They have saved many lives. Plan escape routes from all rooms in the home and try to have at least two means of exit from every room.

Close Doors to Stop Fires

Closing doors to rooms slows or prevents the travel of smoke and fire. This extra time may be enough for you to escape or be rescued by the fire department. Proper fire doors in commercial and multi-family buildings must always be kept closed to prevent fire spread. Do not be complacent, if they are open close them; it is the law!

Hot Water Temperature

Check your hot water tank setting. Always run cold water first and then add hot water to the desired temperature. Check the water temperature first with the back of your hand.


If you get a burn run the burned area under cool water for 10 minutes then cover it with a dry, sterile dressing. If any blistering occurs, or if a significant area is affected seek medical attention immediately or dial 911.

Compact Fluorescent Lamps

Click here to learn about safety and compact fluorescent lamps.

To learn more about what you can do to protect yourself and your family at home, check out the Home Safety Inspection Report.

Learn more about home safety and find articles and video from the NFPA Journal go to NFPA.

Home Fire Sprinklers

Residential Sprinkler Systems

Check out this informative infographic which details the progression of a fire in a residence without fire sprinklers.  Visit www.homefiresprinkler.org for a video version of this graphic.

Did you know that 8 out of 10 fire deaths occur in the home?  Installing fire sprinklers in residential homes is a great idea that can save lives.  The Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition is the #1 resource for accurate, non-commercial information regarding installation and required maintenance.  Check out the HFSC website for more details!


Hoarding is defined as collecting or keeping large amounts of various items in the home due to strong urges to save them or distress experienced when discarding them.  Many rooms in the home are so filled with possessions that residents can no longer use the rooms as designed.  The home is so overloaded with things that everyday living is compromised.

The excessive accumulation of materials in homes poses a significant threat to firefighters fighting fires and responding to other emergencies in these homes and to residents and neighbours.  Responding firefighters can be put at risk due to obstructed exits, falling objects, and excessive fire loading that can lead to collapse.  Hoarding makes fighting fires and searching for occupants far more difficult.

5 Ways to Make Your Home Safe:


  • Make sure you have at least 1 working smoke detector on every level of your home
  • Keep your kitchen area clean- 1 out of 4 house fires start in the kitchen
  • Maintain clear exit pathways – can you get out?
  • Maintain a minimum 18 inch clearance to all heat sources like baseboard heaters, portable heaters, stovetops, electrical panels and furnaces
  • Keep doorways free and clear of storage


Additional Resources Available – Hoarding Cleanup