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Be prepared for winter: Fire safety in the home

January 23, 2024

Prince Edward County Fire & Rescue is urging everyone to keep fire safety in mind as the temperatures turn colder.

“We often see more home fires during the winter months due to heating equipment and appliances,” says Fire Prevention Officer Michael Branscombe. “People need to pay close attention to potential fire hazards such as fireplaces, furnaces, chimneys and vents, and space heaters.”

Keep woodstove and chimney safety tips in mind:

  • Ensure your chimney and woodstove are inspected and cleaned annually by a professional to remove creosote build-up.
  • Maintain proper clearance around the woodstove and chimney. Keep flammable items at a safe distance.
  • Burn dry, well-seasoned wood in fireplaces and woodstoves to reduce the risk of excessive creosote build-up in chimneys.
  • Use a sturdy screen or glass door to prevent sparks from escaping.
  • Allow ashes from your fireplace or woodstove to cool before emptying them into a metal container with a tight-fitting lid. Keep the container outside and away from the house or any combustibles.

Prevent carbon monoxide from harming you and your family:

  • Place carbon monoxide (CO) alarms on each level of your home and near sleeping areas.
  • Test alarms monthly and replace batteries annually.
  • Install alarms at least 15 feet away from fuel-burning appliances to prevent false alarms.
  • Replace CO alarms every 5 – 7 years or according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • If an alarm sounds, leave the area immediately and call emergency services.

Smoke alarms are essential for home safety. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas.
  • Test alarms monthly and replace batteries at least once a year or according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
  • Replace smoke alarms every 10 years, or as per manufacturer’s guidelines.
  • For optimal safety, interconnect smoke alarms so that when one detects smoke, all alarms sound.
  • Regularly vacuum alarms to remove dust and debris that might interfere with their functionality.

For more information contact Prince Edward County Fire & Rescue at 613.476.2345, 613.962.9108 extension 3050 or email


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