Fire safety begins with you. Protect what you value most. Learn more about how to keep you and your family safe:

Smoke alarms

Smoke alarms help save lives in the case of an emergency. It is the law to have working smoke alarms:

  • Outside all sleeping areas
  • On every storey of your home
  • Consider one for every bedroom

Failure to comply could result in a fine under the Ontario Fire Code.

2023 Smoke and CO Alarm Program is here!

Every year EG Emergency and Community Safety Services conducts its annual Smoke and CO alarm program, which runs from April to October. This program is free and available to all EG residents.

ECSS staff go door to door visiting different areas in EG, checking all smoke and CO alarms and ensuring they are in good working condition.

What can I expect during the visit?

Whether you have scheduled your own personal inspection, or your address was selected through our Smoke and CO program database, during the inspection ECSS staff will:

  • Test all smoke alarms and CO alarms to make sure they are in good working order and are installed in the proper locations of your home.
  • Check all expiry dates to ensure your alarms have not reached their end of life.
  • Answer any other fire related questions you have.

How to Book an inspection

To book an in-person or virtual inspection, please contact the ECSS Community Education and Prevention Branch by email or call 905-853-8842.

If you choose to participate in the program and have working alarms, you will be entered into a monthly draw for your chance to win a $100.00 gift card to a local restaurant in EG. 

Important: If you have hard-wired alarms in your home, the units must be installed and/or serviced by a licensed technician/electrician.

If you are a tenant, your landlord, or property manager, is responsible for maintaining your alarms. Landlords/property managers are responsible for supplying and or replacing batteries, smoke alarms, and CO alarms where required. Please contact your landlord or property manager for assistance. 

Did you know?

  • Smoke and CO alarms are required on every level of your home and outside all sleeping areas.
  • Smoke alarms (battery or hard wired) expire every 10 years or as recommended by the manufacturer.
  • CO alarms expire every five years or as recommended by the manufacturer.
  • A helpful tip, change the batteries in all of your alarms when you change your clock in the spring and fall.
    •  If you have a fire, or CO emergency, get everyone out of the house immediately and call 9-1-1 from outside your home at your safe meeting spot.
Maintenance for smoke alarms

Follow these steps to make sure your smoke alarms are working at their best:

  • Test your smoke alarms every month using the test button
  • Replace smoke alarm batteries twice a year and whenever the low battery warning sounds
  • Replace smoke alarms every ten years

After 10 years, the smoke alarm has tested the air in your home 3.5 million times. The components inside the alarm can wear out and may not detect a fire as quickly. Most manufacturers recommend replacing them, including hard wired (electrical) alarms, after ten years to ensure the best level of protection in your home.

Managing nuisance alarms

Sometimes smoke alarms are accidentally set off, generally because of cooking activities or steam from the shower. To help this problem so that smoke alarms only go off when there is a real emergency:

  • Install smoke alarms with a "pause" or "hush" feature
  • Move the alarm elsewhere on the ceiling
  • Use the fan on the range hood when cooking
  • Avoid having a smoke alarm too close to the cooking area
  • Keep ovens and burners clean and turn down the setting on the toaster
What to do if your smoke alarm goes off

If your smoke alarm is in full alarm mode, alert others and evacuate to your family meeting place outside of your home. Do not re-enter your home and call 911 from a safe location.

If the alarm is chirping, first check the area to try to detect the smell of smoke. If you are certain that no emergency exists, assess the number of chirps and the interval between chirps.

Check the manual to determine the cause of the beeps. For example, an alarm may chirp once every minute to indicate the battery is in need of replacement, or once every 30 seconds for end of life notification. You can give us a call at 905-668-3312 and ask to speak with a Fire Prevention Officer if you need help with your smoke alarm.

Carbon Monoxide alarms

Carbon Monoxide (CO) alarms protect you from carbon monoxide poisoning. The law requires that you install CO alarm(s) in your home or apartment if you have a:

  • Gas stove
  • Wood stove
  • Furnace
  • Gas fuelled water heater
  • Fire place
  • Garage
What is Carbon Monoxide?

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colourless, odorless, tasteless and deadly gas produced by burning gasoline, wood, propane, charcoal or other fuel. CO can enter your home from faulty or improperly ventilated home appliances that burn natural gas, oil, propane, wood or kerosene.

If you are exposed to CO, you may experience the following health risks:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue

In severe cases, you may experience CO poisoning which can cause brain damage and potentially death. Severe symptoms include:

  • Mental confusion
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of muscle control and coordination
  • Loss of consciousness
Maintaining and installing Carbon Monoxide alarms

Your carbon monoxide alarm should be tested regularly to make sure it is operating properly. Keep the unit clean and free of dust dirt and other debris, which could affect proper functioning. The manual will tell you how to test your alarm.

You should keep common household chemicals and cleaners away from your CO alarms. Low exposure over an extended period could damage the sensing device and cause it to malfunction.

It is important to install a CO alarm near sleeping areas. You should have a working CO alarm on every level of your home that contains a sleeping area. For added safety, you can add more alarms near heating sources.

What if my Carbon Monoxide alarm goes off?

If your CO alarm goes off, follow these steps to be safe:

  1. Evacuate all occupants from the home immediately without ventilating
  2. Call 911 from a safe location
  3. Do not re-enter the home until you are told by WFES it is safe

Home escape planning

During a fire, you don't have a lot of time. Make a home fire escape plan with your family so that you know what to do in case of an emergency and how to escape a fire.

Tips for creating a home escape plan
  • Ensure that all exists are not being blocked and have two ways out for every room
  • If someone in your home has a disability, develop a home fire escape plan that considers their unique needs. Determine who will be responsible for helping young children, older adults and anyone who needs assistance to escape.
  • Choose a meeting place outside that is a safe distance from your home where everyone can be accounted for
  • If you get caught in smoke, get low and go towards the nearest safe exit to avoid smoke inhalation
  • Call 911 from outside of your home using a cell phone or your neighbours phone
  • Once out, stay out. Never re-enter until you're advised it is safe to do so
  • Practice your plan at night when children are sleeping

Extinguishing a fire

Use a fire extinguisher to put out a small fire. Never put yourself or anyone in danger if the fire is too large or smoke becomes a hazard.

What kind of fire extinguisher do I need in my home?

A portable fire extinguisher can save lives and property by putting out a small fire or containing it until the fire department arrives. A dry chemical fire extinguisher (class ...) is recommended in all kitchens.

Because fire grows and spreads so rapidly, the number one priority is to get out safely.​​

Can I put out a fire in my home using a garden hose or bucket of water?

Never attempt to put out a fire in your home, especially if it is large.

By not calling 911 immediately, you will delay the fire crews' response, which then allows the fire to grow much larger and more dangerous. A fire doubles in size every 30 seconds. ​

Kitchen and barbeque safety

More fires begin in the kitchen than in any other room in the home. In fact, residential cooking is one of the leading causes of fire-related deaths. The majority of kitchen fires start with cooking equipment, primarily with stoves and microwave ovens. 

Another common cause of fires are barbeques. Please take the time to inspect your grill and ensure your safety. Before you begin, make sure your propane or natural gas barbecue is in safe, good working order.

Kitchen safety tips
  • Keep pot handles turned toward the back of the stove. A small child could pull on a handle and be burned or scalded by its contents.
  • Avoid loose clothing while cooking. Loose clothing can brush heating elements and easily catch fire.
  • Never leave food cooking unattended on the stove.
  • Never store frequently used items above the stove where you may be burned reaching to get them.
  • Remove pans of cooking fat or oils from the stove when not in use. It's easy to turn on the wrong burner accidentally.
  • Keep your stove and oven clean because built-up grease and food particles can easily ignite. Keep combustibles (i.e. curtains, dish towels, plastic or wood utensils, newspapers, grocery bags) away from the stove, oven and all appliances.
  • Unplug kettles, frying pans and other appliances when not in use.
  • Do not place metal, foil, or other combustible materials in the microwave. Ensure that all materials have been deemed microwave safe on the packaging.
  • Make stove controls easy to read from a distance - perhaps mark "off" with a bright red dot.
  • Examine the stove and oven, toasters, coffee makers, and other cooking devices for signs of cracking, fraying or wear on cords and plugs.
  • Look for signs of overheating.
  • Check for recognized testing laboratory labels to show that the unit has been well designed.
  • Keep matches out of reach of children. Explain the dangers to your children.
Grease and pan fires
 Always smother grease and pan fires. Never place water on them.
  • Turn off the stove. Smother flames with a pot lid or larger pan, if possible. Protect your hand with an oven mitt or wrapped dishtowel.
  • Use an approved portable fire extinguisher only if you are familiar with its safe operation.
  • Never throw water or use flour on a grease fire.
  • In case of an oven fire, close the oven door and turn off the oven. Never touch or attempt to carry a flaming pot. The contents may spill, spread or burn you.
  • If the fire is not brought under control immediately, get you and your family out and call 911.
Barbeque safety tips
  • Keep children and pets far away from a hot grill, and never leave them unsupervised in the area of an ignited barbecue.
  • Never use wood, charcoal briquettes, barbecue starter fluid or gasoline in conjunction with your propane or natural gas barbecue. Doing so is likely to result in a highly flammable and volatile situation that may cause extensive damage to your property, personal injury or loss of life.
  • Barbecue in an open outdoor space due to ventilation and safety reasons. Keep the barbecue at least three metres from windows and doors.
  • Keep the barbecue away from wooden fences, wooden walls, combustible overhead roofs, and trees with low branches.
  • Do not allow an accumulation of grease to occur by keeping your grill and burners clean. This will help minimize the chances that you will have a serious grease fire.
  • Never fight a grease fire with water. This will only cause the flames to flare up. Keep loose clothing away from a hot barbecue. Roll up your sleeves or cook in a short-sleeved shirt. If your clothing catches on fire, quickly stop, drop and roll.
  • Use long-handled tongs and brushes while grilling to put an extra bit of distance between you and the flames.
  • Wear oven mitts and a heavy apron to protect yourself from fire while grilling.
  • If you do burn yourself, run the affected area under cool water for five minutes. If your burn is serious (charring, blistering), seek medical attention right away.
Inspecting your barbeque
  • Dirt and debris can build up inside the grill over the winter months. Carefully clean out any particles, dust, and cobwebs that may have built up over the winter. Newer barbecues have spider guards to prevent them from entering the burner and burner tubes, however, if yours does not, use a pipe cleaner or wire to ensure that spider webs have not built up inside. Remove lava rocks and grates for a thorough cleaning with soap and warm water.
  • Clean your burner ports to ensure they are free of dirt and rust.
  • Make sure that the barbecue hose is in good condition and is free of cracks. Propane or Natural Gas leaking from a cracked hose may send out a stream that, if ignited, can produce huge flames.
  • Check to ensure that all connections are tight and that there are no leaks. Do not use a match or lighter to check for leaks. You can brush a mixture of soap and water onto the connections and hoses (a 50/50 mix), and any rising bubbles will indicate a leak. Repair your barbecue so that there are no more bubbles.
  • Replace rusty or damaged propane tanks that are more than 10 years old.
  • If you're not sure about the condition of a barbecue part, you should replace it with a new component.
  • Call a certified fuel appliance repair person if you do not feel comfortable completing safety checks yourself.

Fireworks safety

To minimize the risk of fire and injury, we do not recommend family fireworks or informal neighbourhood displays.

If you still choose to have family fireworks or an informal neighbourhood display, consumer fireworks must only be discharged in accordance with by-law 2012-088.

Firework safety tips
  • Appoint a responsible person to be in charge. Only adults who are aware of the hazards and essential safety precautions should handle and discharge fireworks.
  • Carefully read and follow the label directions on fireworks packaging.
  • Always keep a water hose or pail of water close by when discharging fireworks.
  • Discharge fireworks well away from combustible materials like buildings, trees and dry grass.
  • Keep onlookers a safe distance away, upwind from the area where fireworks are discharged.
  • Light only one firework at a time, and only when they are on the ground. Never try to light a firework in your hand or re-light dud fireworks. For dud fireworks, it is best to wait 30 minutes and soak them in a bucket of water. Dispose of them in a metal container.
  • Discharge fireworks only if wind conditions do not create a safety hazard.
  • Keep sparklers away from children. Sparklers burn extremely hot and can ignite clothing, cause blindness and result in severe burns. As the sparkler wire remains hot for some minutes after burnout, it should be immediately soaked in water to avoid injury.
  • If someone is burned, run cool water over the wound for three to five minutes and seek medical attention, if necessary.

Register for a fire education program

Fire prevention inspections

Our Prevention Inspectors can help you with personal inspections, test fire protection systems, review and help with creating fire safety plans and ensure compliance with the Ontario Fire Code.

You can contact our prevention staff and book an inspection by calling 905-853-8842.

A message from the Office of the Fire Marshal

The Office of the Fire Marshal released a video on September 28, 2022, pleading with Ontarians to check, replace, or install working smoke alarms on every level of their home and outside of all sleeping areas.

WARNING: This content may be disturbing or distressing to those dealing with trauma. This chilling audio reveals the mere seconds you have in the event of a fire. That missing sound could be the difference between life and death.