October is Fire Safety Month.

A Reminder from your concerned Home Inspector : October is Fire Safety Month.

Are you “Fire Prevention” savvy? Be aware also of the potential for Carbon Monoxide poisoning.

During the winter months, the Canadian Red Cross has to support more people affected by home and apartment fires than in any other season.  We therefore want to encourage you to take a few minutes to go through your residence and ensure that everything is safely in order for the coming months.

Here are some tips:   

  • Keep matches and lighters in a safe place out of reach of children. Never leave candles or fires burning unattended.  Have wood and gas stoves, fireplaces and chimneys, furnaces and boilers checked at least once a year by a professional, or more frequently – depending on use.
  • Be sure that nothing can come into contact with even baseboard heaters, such as curtains, toys, or electrical wires. Don’t overload electrical outlets or run wires or extension cords under carpets or furniture.
  • Store flammable liquids in approved containers and away from heat sources.
  • You should have a smoke alarm & C. O. detector on every floor in your home including the basement and especially near bedrooms.
  • smoke detector of fire alarm in action

    smoke detector of fire alarm in action

Check batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detector on a regular basis, if not self -recharging.  It is recommended you change batteries when you move the clocks forward and back (spring and fall).  Keep a fire extinguisher on every floor of your home.  You should, especially, have one in the kitchen, garage and basement.

  • Make sure the fuses & circuit breakers in your electrical distribution panel are the correct amperage. Never replace a fuse or breaker that blows with a higher-amperage.
  • Prepare an evacuation plan for your home and hold practice fire drills until every family member instinctively knows what to do in the event of a fire, including where to meet once outside (arrange a spot at a safe distance away).

During these cold (and snowy!) winter months, one of the major causes of poor health (runny nose, itchy eyes, fatigue, etc.) can be directly attributable to poor indoor air quality.  Improve the air quality of your environment and you can often improve your day-to-day health.

Your Furnace May be Poisoning You!   (Maybe your gas water heater as well.)


Most people assume that if their furnace “works”, they have no heating problems.  When the thermostat is turned up and the furnace turns on, you’re in business, right?  Maybe, not  …this warm thought is not as comforting as you think!  That furnace may actually be producing poisonous gases.  Most people never stop to think ‘their’ furnace may have problems.  Fortunately, these gases can be detected and the problem eliminated.

Yes this problem does exist and yes, people do die from “the Silent Killer” (CO).  Carbon Monoxide poisoning is a risk with ANY gas or wood-burning appliance.

Unfortunately, carbon monoxide poisoning is easily mistaken for other common illnesses and is often misdiagnosed.  The most common symptoms are flu-like, such as chronic headaches, nausea, drowsiness, etc., but the difference is that this poison can lead to death.

We should not be complacent with this deadly gas – it can kill – especially at night.


It is important that people take the necessary precautions to combat CO poisoning. There are inexpensive ways to do this:

  • purchase a carbon monoxide detector for every floor of your home and replace every 5 years
  • have a reputable service company do regular safety checks
  • get your gas company to inspect for problems

Never rely on carbon monoxide detectors as the complete solution.  There is no substitute for regular service inspections and maintenance of natural gas appliances and vents and a maintenance program may even increase your furnace’s efficiency by as much as 20%,to decrease costs

Fortis BC recommends annual servicing of your gas appliances to ensure they are running smoothly and efficiently.  Many things can cause CO emissions.

What condition is your furnace in? (Even if it is quite new.)

For residents who are wondering what it takes to be fire safe with wood-burning fireplaces in the absence of any personal knowledge of your home, we can only guess.  In order to look at the full picture, the following safety measures need to be considered by homeowners:

  • The most obvious would be to not burn—period. (The fire department likes this option best.)
  • The next would be to convert aging fireplaces to gas. This can be an expensive project and not likely to be undertaken by a townhouse or condo complexe, en masse.
  • It has been suggested the last and most critical step would be to educate both homeowners and renters about basic risk factors for using a fireplace and ensure additional safety measures are adhered to.

These safety measures can include:                                                                                                          •Never burning large amounts of paper or other highly flammable materials in a fireplace.                                                                                                                                               •Don’t overload the fireplace with too many “logs”.                                                                    •Follow manufacturer’s instructions when using fire logs  

Never leave a fire unattended.

These tips and other information regarding wood-burning fireplace safety are available by way of your accessible Home Inspector and Consultant.



#firesafety  #fireprevention #COpoisoning

About Glenn Duxbury

Duxbury & Associates Building Inspection and Consulting Ltd. has received the 2004 Douglas College Entrepreneur of the Year Award in the ‘Consulting’ category for persistence and pursuit of excellent service delivery to clients by providing very thorough and professional Inspection Reports and dedication to those involved in buying / selling / building / renovating and maintaining uncompromised customer focus.