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Fire Safety and Prevention

Message from the Fire Chief

Greetings residents and visitors,

I would like to welcome you to the Fire section of the Kawartha Lakes website. As Fire Chief it is my goal to continue to enhance the three lines of defence against fire including public education, inspection and code enforcement and fire suppression. By doing so, we are able to provide the community with the best possible public fire safety measures. Our mission is to protect the lives and property of residents and visitors in Kawartha Lakes.

Fire Chief with kids

Kawartha Lakes Fire Rescue Service is a composite department with about 400 men and women serving the community. We have a total of 20 fire stations throughout the City. Station 1 in Lindsay is staffed with full-time firefighters and our fire prevention division, while the other 19 stations employ volunteer firefighters. To find the fire station in your community, visit our Fire Stations and Master Fire Plan page. It is our commitment to partnerships and community involvement that makes Kawartha Lakes a fire safe community.

Working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms save lives, and they are law in Ontario. I urge all residents and visitors to ensure that you have working smoke alarms on every level of your home or cottage and outside of all sleeping areas. I invite you to explore our new website to learn more about smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, build an emergency survival kit, request a fire inspection or public education workshop and contact us if you have any further questions.

I am proud to represent Kawartha Lakes Fire Rescue and to serve the firefighters, residents and visitors of Kawartha Lakes. On behalf of all members of Kawartha Lakes Fire Rescue, I extend sincere appreciation for your commitment to fire safety in your homes, cottages and workplaces.

Yours in fire safety,

Mark Pankhurst

Fire Chief

Fire safety information

Working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms can save your life in an emergency. All residential dwellings must have working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.

There are many ways you can improve fire safety including:

Cooking safely

  • Keep your cooking space clean and free of anything that can burn;
  • Don't store anything on the back of your stove;
  • Reaching over hot burners and pots can cause burns;
  • Roll up your sleeves or wear a short sleeved shirt;
  • Keep pot lids close to the stove while you cook;
  • If there is a small fire you can slide lid onto the pot or pan and turn off burners to put it out.
  • In the summer of 2019, the Kawartha Lakes Fire Rescue Service has received a grant from the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation of Canada for $8,972.20 to go towards a Fire Hazard Kitchen Simulator. The Kitchen Simulator is a tool that Fire Prevention Inspectors use to promote kitchen safety during public education initiatives throughout the municipality.

Heating your home safely

  • Keep anything that can burn at least one metre away from furnaces, baseboard heaters, woodstoves and fireplaces;
  • Make sure you have working carbon monoxide alarms outside sleeping areas in your home;
  • Get regular maintenance on your heating equipment from a qualified professional;
  • Turn off portable heaters every time you leave the room and when you go to bed;
  • Put ashes into a metal bucked far from combustible materials to cool down;
  • It can take three days for ashes to cool completely;
  • Maintain chimneys to make sure there are no blockages.

Using candles safely

  • Always stay in the room when candles are burning, put out the flame every time you leave the room or go to bed;
  • In a power outage use battery powered lanterns or battery powered candles to reduce the risk of fire;
  • Keep candles away from anything that can burn such as furniture or curtains;
  • Keep candles away from pets;
  • Keep candles in sturdy candle holders that won't tip or burn.

Clearing fire hydrants

  • Keep fire hydrants visible and accessible;
  • Keep grass and vegetation away from fire hydrants;
  • In winter make sure there is one metre of clear space around fire hydrants and clear paths to reach fire hydrants.

Seasonal tips

  • Make sure cottages, boats with sleeping areas, trailers and recreational vehicles have working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms;
  • Follow the city fire works by-law and all manufacturer's directions when you use fireworks;
  • Keep your barbeque clean and inspect hoses and burners, make any needed repairs and have it inspected by a licensed gas professional;
  • Follow open air by-law regulations when you have a fire.

Carbon monoxide (CO) - The Silent Killer

Carbon monoxide alarms are required near all sleeping areas in residential homes and in the service rooms, and adjacent sleeping areas in multi-residential units. Carbon monoxide alarms can be hardwired, battery-operated or plugged into the wall.

Carbon Monoxide is a colourless, odourless, tasteless, toxic gas that enters the body through the lungs during the normal breathing process.  It replaces oxygen in the blood and prevents the flow of oxygen to the heart, brain and other vital organs.

It Kills: Many Canadians die every year from carbon monoxide poisoning in their own homes, most of them while sleeping.

It Injures: Hundreds of Canadians are hospitalized every year from carbon monoxide poisoning, many of whom are permanently disabled.

 Where does carbon monoxide come from?

Produced when carbon-based fuels are incompletely burned such as:
  • Wood
  • Propane
  • Natural Gas
  • Heating Oil
  • Coal
  • Kerosene
  • Charcoal
  • Gasoline

Main sources of carbon monoxide in my home

Many Ontario homes have an average 4–6 fuel-burning appliances that produce carbon monoxide.

  • Stove
  • Furnace
  • Fireplace
  • Dryer
  • Water heater
  • Barbecue

  • Portable fuel fired generator
  • Portable fuel heater
  • Vehicles

 How can you protect your family 

Regularly maintained appliances that are properly ventilated should not produce hazardous levels of carbon monoxide.

  • Install a carbon monoxide alarm near all sleeping area(s) of the home
  • Install the carbon monoxide alarm(s) in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions
  • Ensure fuel-burning appliances, chimneys and vents are cleaned and inspected by professionals every year before cold weather sets in. Visit COSafety.ca to find a registered contractor near you
  • Ensure vents for the dryer, furnace, stove, fireplace and other fuel-burning appliances are clear of snow and other debris
  • Gas and charcoal barbecues should only be used outside, away from all doors, windows, vents, and other building openings
  • Never use barbecues inside garages, even if the garage doors are open
  • Portable fuel-burning generators should only be used outdoors in well-ventilated areas away from windows, doors, vents and other building openings
  • Ensure all portable fuel-burning heaters are vented properly, according to manufacturer’s instructions
  • Never use the stove or oven to heat your home
  • Open the flu before using a fireplace for adequate ventilation
  • Never run a vehicle or other fueled engine or motor inside a garage, even if the garage doors are open. Always remove a vehicle from the garage immediately after starting it

 What to do if the carbon monoxide alarm sounds

Know the Sound of the CO Alarm:

  • Your CO alarm sounds different than your smoke alarm. Test both alarms monthly and make sure everyone in your home knows the difference between the two alarm sounds.

  • Know the difference between the CO alarms' low-battery warning, end of life warning and an emergency alarm – consult the CO alarm manufacturer’s instructions.

What to do if the CO Alarm Sounds:

  • Exposure to CO can cause flu-like symptoms such as headaches, nausea and dizziness, as well as confusion, drowsiness, loss of consciousness and death.

  • If your CO alarm sounds, and you or other occupants suffer from symptoms of CO poisoning, get everyone out of the home immediately. Then call 9-1-1 or your local emergency services number from outside the building.

  • If your CO alarm sounds, and no one is suffering from symptoms of CO poisoning, check to see if the battery needs replacing, or the alarm has reached its "end-of-life" before calling 9-1-1.

Public education programsSparky the Fire Safety Dog

There are many public education programs available for students, residents, organizations and groups in the City. You can contact Kawartha Lakes Fire Rescue Service to request a presentation that will meet the needs of your audience.

Some available programs include:

Door-to-door smoke and carbon monoxide alarm program

Firefighters go door to door to make sure homes have working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. We talk about fire safety information and make sure you have a fire escape plan for your home. Participation in the program is voluntary. You can contact the Fire Service to request a home visit.

Arson prevention program for children

The Fire Service works with mental health partners to help youth and their families reduce the risks that come from playing with fire. Mental health professionals will assess the risk of continued unsafe behaviour and try to find out why your child is setting fires. The Fire Service will teach your family about fire safety. The program is free and available to children from two to 17 years of age.

Fire Chief for the day

Grade six students have the chance to become Fire Chief for a day. Students enter to win by writing a short essay about fire safety. On the Friday of Fire Safety Week two winners will take their places as Fire Chief. Fire Chiefs hold a press conference, meet staff from other emergency services and learn about basic firefighting techniques and gear. If you are a teacher and would like your class to participate in the program you can contact Kawartha Lakes Fire Rescue Service for more information.

Learn not to burn

The learn not to burn program is delivered by teachers. Children between preschool and Grade 2 are taught fire safety messages including:

  • smoke alarms are important
  • get outside, stay outside
  • fire drills at school
  • stay away from hot things
  • matches and lighters are for grown-ups
  • firefighters are community helpers 

What's Cooking - for teens!

This program teaches teens the basics of cooking safely including:

  • why smoke alarms are important
  • the leading causes of kitchen fires
  • home fire escape planning
  • how to prevent fires and injuries

Plan your escape

Everyone in your home needs to know how to get out safely in an emergency. You should choose a meeting place that everyone in your family knows and have two routes to get out of your house. Have a fire drill and practice your home escape plan at least twice a year. In an emergency, it is important to remember:

  • Never use elevators in an emergency;
  • Test doors for heat with the back of your hand before opening them;
  • If you are trapped close all doors and windows between you and the fire;
  • Stuff cracks around doors with towels or blankets and signal for help with a flashlight or blanket;
  • Get out quickly and do not go back for possessions or pets;
  • Go directly to your meeting place and make sure the fire department has been contacted;
  • If you see smoke stay low;
  • Crawl for better visibility and cleaner air;
  • Test smoke alarms regularly.

Portable fire extinguisher training

We will come to your location and teach your business, group, club or organization about the different classes of fire and how to control them. There is a fee for this service, contact Kawartha Lakes Fire Rescue for more information.

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