Fire Safety 101: Here are some im­por­tant lessons for stu­dents

Ottawa Sun - New Homes - - HOMES - BY DICKIE & LY­MAN LLP

On­tario. If some­thing is on the stove, some­one should be in the kitchen mon­i­tor­ing it un­til it is done. All com­bustibles should be stored away from the stove, in­clud­ing tea tow­els, pa­per tow­els and wooden or plas­tic spoons.

To min­i­mize the ef­fect of a stove­top fire, a pot lid should be nearby in or­der to sti­fle the flames. Even bet­ter, con­sider buy­ing a fire ex­tin­guisher for the kitchen. Make sure it is suit­able for kitchen fires, which of­ten in­clude grease.

Can­dles are an­other lead­ing cause of fires. Con­sider us­ing tea lights and vo­tive can­dles in non-com­bustible con­tain­ers, which are safer than open-taper can­dles. All can­dles should be placed away from com­bustibles and in a lo­ca­tion where they can­not be knocked over. Can­dles should be blown out be­fore leav­ing the room or go­ing to bed.

Even if stu­dents do not smoke them­selves, they may well have friends who do. Fires caused by cig­a­rettes can be deadly. Smok­ers should be asked to smoke only out­side. If a ten­ant al­lows smok­ing in their apart­ment, the ten­ant should use large, deep ash­trays to re­duce the risk of fire from ashes and cig­a­rette butts ig­nit­ing rugs or up­hol­stery. They also need to al­low cig­a­rette ashes to cool com­pletely be­fore dis­pos­ing of them.

Par­ties are com­mon­place among stu­dents. When ac­com­pa­nied with the con­sump­tion of al­co­hol, cook­ing or smok­ing can lead to dan­ger­ous sit­u­a­tions. At a party, a ten­ant can en­cour­age par­ty­go­ers to smoke out­side. A ten­ant can even post “no smok­ing” signs to direct smok­ers out­doors. For par­ties es­pe­cially, oc­cu­pants should avoid light­ing can­dles, since they can easily be knocked over and come into con­tact with com­bustibles.

Ot­tawa win­ters are cold, and as a re­sult, cen­tral heat- ing is of­ten sup­ple­mented by space heaters. Space heaters should be kept away from com­bustibles, like pa­per, bed­ding, fur­ni­ture and cur­tains. They should be turned off be­fore leav­ing the apart­ment or house, or go­ing to bed.

Elec­tri­cal equipment can cause fires. Oc­cu­pants should re­frain from the per­ma­nent use of ex­ten­sion cords. When in use, make sure ex­ten­sion cords are not con­cealed un­der car­pets and rugs where they can be dam­aged, thus lead­ing to a fire. Instead, a ULC-listed power bar with a cir­cuit breaker and surge pro­tec­tor is a good op­tion.

All liv­ing ac­com­mo­da­tions are re­quired to have smoke alarms in or­der to alert their in­hab­i­tants to a fire. Land­lords are ob­li­gated by law to pro­vide one or some­times more func­tion­ing smoke alarms. How­ever, a ten­ant can pur­chase an ad­di­tional smoke alarm for their bed­room if they choose to.

Ten­ants must not dis­able or tam­per with a smoke alarm. That is dan­ger­ous and against the law. If a smoke alarm ac­ti­vates too much due to cook­ing or wash­ing, then the ap­pro­pri­ate ac­tion is to dis­cuss with the land­lord whether the alarms can be moved to a dif­fer­ent lo­ca­tion within the apart­ment.

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