Fire Prevention and Eduction

Safety In The Home

Take some time to review the ways you and your family can stay safe in your home, workplace, and community. Check out these home fire safety tips from the Government of Canada, and below.

Burning with wood, open burning, installing and maintaining your stove and more.

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Protect yourself and your family from CO

Carbon monoxide is a highly poisonous gas. You can’t smell it and you can’t see it, but it can make you very sick—it can even kill you.

Carbon monoxide (CO) is created when appliances that burn any kind of fuel—oil, gas, wood and kerosene—aren’t ventilated properly. CO build-up happens when a fuel-burning heating appliance has been incorrectly installed, badly repaired or poorly maintained. It can also occur if flues, chimneys or vents to the outdoors are blocked.

Carbon monoxide alarms will alert you to danger and could save your life—and they are required by law. Put an alarm on every level of your home, outside each sleeping area and in each bedroom. Test the battery monthly, change the batteries twice a year and replace the alarms every 10 years.

Learn more about preventing carbon monoxide exposure and how to install CO detectors at yukon.ca/en/carbon-monoxide.

Thanks to Yukon Protective Services Emergency Preparedness for this content. 

Watch this video courtesy of Perth East Fire Department

We have had recent calls involving Carbon Monoxide (CO) alarms at residential properties. Upon investigation, we have determined the root cause to be linked to the charging of lead-acid batteries in an enclosed area and often when being trickle charged. This charging process often leads to off gassing of Hydrogen through venting holes in the battery that are designed for this process.

Lead-acid batteries produce Hydrogen when charging

Carbon Monoxide detectors use something called a “Metal Oxide Semiconductor (MOS)” sensor, which detects a variety of gases including Hydrogen. A MOS sensor calibrated for CO will give a false positive in the presence of Hydrogen gas. A small confined space can create an explosive atmosphere if Hydrogen reaches its Lower Explosive Limit (LEL) of 4%.

Safety

Ensure adequate ventilation is provided while charging batteries. Besides the toxicity and flammability of these substances, it should be kept in mind that they will all also displace oxygen. Unconsciousness can result in as little as a few seconds’ exposure to an oxygen deficient atmosphere and for that reason, you should evacuate the building immediately anytime Carbon Monoxide alarms are ringing. Call 911, get out and stay out until the atmosphere can be tested and proven safe.

Tips for charging batteries

  • Charge batteries in a well ventilated area
  • Follow manufacturer’s instructions
  • Be careful when attaching / detaching clamps and ensure correct polarity
  • Clean battery terminals according to manufacturer’s instructions before recharging
  • Do not attempt to charge a frozen or damaged battery
  • Monitor the charging process
  • Turn off charger before disconnecting
  • Unplug the charging device when completed
  • Remember, don’t become a victim – Stay Safe! 

Please ensure that smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are properly functioning, and conduct routine testing.

In the event of a power outage, do not use outdoor barbeques or heating devices inside your home or garage. If you have an emergency gasoline-powered generator, keep it well away from doors and windows to prevent carbon monoxide from entering your home.

Space heaters must be kept at least three-feet away from any combustible material, and always plugged directly into electrical outlets – do not use extension cords. Remember to never leave space heaters unattended or with unsupervised children or pets.

Keep your home safe by having annual inspections of heating appliances prior to the winter season. A woodstove, even if only used for back-up heating, needs an annual inspection by a qualified technician.

Be prepared for emergencies year round – be able to sustain your household for a minimum of 72-hours without power orrunning water.

For more information on keeping your home safe this winter, please contact Whitehorse Fire and Protective Services at 668-2462.

The dangers of extension cords:

  • Extension cords are a common cause of electrical fires. That is why you must be careful to use only extension cords that are rated for the power used by the device they are powering.
  • Extension cords must never be run inside walls or under rugs or furniture. They can be damaged by traffic or heavy furniture and start arcing, which can lead to a fire.
  • Extension cords can get warm during use and must be able to dissipate this heat or they can start a fire.

Signs of an electrical problem:

  • Flickering lights: if the lights dim every time you turn on an appliance it means that the circuit is overloaded or has a loose connection.
  • Sparks: if sparks appear when you insert or remove a plug, it could be a sign of loose connections.
  • Warm electrical cord: if an electrical cord is warm to the touch, the cord is underrated or defective.
  • Frequent blown fuses or broken circuits: a fuse that continues to blow or circuit breaker that keeps tripping is an important warning sign of problems.
  • Frequent bulb burnout: a light bulb that burns out frequently is a sign that the bulb is too high in wattage for the fixture.

Smoke Alarms Save Lives: Test Yours Every Month!

The National Fire Code of Canada requires that working smoke alarms be located on every level of the home and outside all sleeping areas.

Your safety is your responsibility.

Only working smoke alarms save lives.

In fact, smoke alarms can increase your chances of surviving a fire by up to 50%!

Make sure you:

  • Test smoke alarms monthly;
  • Change the batteries once a year;
  • Replace smoke alarms after 10 years; and
  • Develop and practice a home fire escape plan with everyone in your household.

For any questions please contact the Whitehorse Fire Department at 867-668-2462.

As the owner or manager of a building, you are responsible for the safety of the people who live or work there. Fire protection begins with good planning. A properly developed Fire Safety Plan protects building occupants, reduces damage, and prevents emergencies. It helps building occupants gain familiarity with emergency procedures.

The following template can be used to create a Fire Safety Plan. The National Fire Code of Canada (Division B Part 2.8) requires the implementation of a Fire Safety Plan in all buildings. The implementation of a Fire Safety Plan helps to ensure effective use of life safety features in a building to protect people from fire. The required Fire Safety Plan should be designed to suit the resources of each individual building or complex of buildings. It is the responsibility of the owner to ensure that the information contained within the Fire Safety Plan is accurate, complete and reviewed annually.

Fire Safety Plan Template

Should you have any questions or concerns in meeting compliance requirements, contact the Fire Prevention Officer.

Outdoor Fire and Safety

Take some time to review the ways you and your family can stay safe outdoors.

Before Lighting Your Fire

Backyard fire pits and fireplaces are a great way to enjoy the outdoors, but they can be dangerous and the smoke and noise can disturb your neighbours. Here are some guidelines from the Whitehorse Fire Department to safely experience outdoor fires.

Click here for guidelines on Backyard Fire Pits.

   

If you have bought a house with an existing fire pit, you must call for a re-inspect. Fire pits are regulated under the Emergency Services Bylaw.

Limiting Noise and Smoke

While you may enjoy the smell of wood smoke, not everyone does. Some medical conditions are aggravated by smoke. Make sure that your fire is small and burning clean, dry fuels to limit the amount of smoke drifting on to your neighbours’ property.

It is also important to limit the noise from around the fire pit, especially late at night.

For more information, please call Fire and Protective Services at 668-2462.

In the event of an emergency, call 9-1-1

Snowmobiling, ice fishing and cross country skiing are some activities that happen on the ice. Ice thickness should be at least 10 centimeters (4 inches) to safely support one person, and more if vehicles are present. If your work or recreation activities take you out onto the ice, wear a personal flotation device and take safety equipment with you. Do not go out onto the ice alone.

Fast moving rivers such as the Yukon River freeze and melt at different rates and are even more unpredictable than lakes and ponds. We encourage citizens to stay off river ice and as an alternative, please choose the use of designated ice surfaces such as local community ice rinks.

If you do find yourself in a dangerous situation involving ice, please remember:

  • Call 9-1-1 if you, another person or your pet needs assistance
  • Stay calm and shout for help
  • Have a long branch, rope or pole to reach someone, but do not become a victim
  • Keep low and distribute your weight as much as possible
  • If you break through the ice, if possible make an attempt to climb out where you fell through
  • Be prepared to start a fire to mitigate the effects of hypothermia

Parents are encouraged to speak to their children about the dangers of going out onto the ice. Always supervise children playing on or near ice or bodies of water and keep pets on a leash.

Whitehorse Fire and Protective Services would like to remind residents of the dangers posed by our Yukon rivers, lakes and ponds. Our waterways are often high and swift from rains and snow melt can easily overwhelm the strongest swimmer.

With the hot summer days that we have experienced over the last couple of weeks these waters still remain very cold and dangerous year-round. The surface of the water is often warmer than what it is below and hypothermia can occur quickly in our chilly waters.

Always supervise young children when near lakes, ponds and especially rivers. The rivers are moving relatively fast and obstacles such as rocks or logs can trap swimmers and overturn Kayaks.

Please wear protective clothing when doing recreational sports such as a personal flotation device that properly fits you and your children.

Have a safe and enjoyable summer.

Fire Prevention

Fire Prevention Week is October 3 to 9, 2021!

Is there a beep or a chirp coming out of your smoke or carbon monoxide alarm? What does it all mean? Knowing the difference can save you, your home, and your family! Make sure everyone in the home understands the sounds of the smoke and carbon monoxide alarms and knows how to respond. Learn the sounds of your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms by checking the user guide or search the brand and model online.

What is your alarm telling you? Learn more at firepreventionweek.org.

  • A continued set of three loud beeps—beep, beep, beep—means smoke or fire. Get out, call 9-1-1, and stay out.
  • A single “chirp” every 30 or 60 seconds means the battery is low and must be changed.
  • All smoke alarms must be replaced after 10 years.
  • Chirping that continues after the battery has been replaced means the alarm is at the end of its life and the unit must be replaced.
  • A continuous set of four loud beeps—beep, beep, beep, beep—means carbon monoxide is present in your home. Go outside, call 9-1-1 and stay out.
  • A single chirp every 30 or 60 seconds means the battery is low and must be replaced.
  • CO alarms also have “end of life” sounds that vary by manufacturer. This means it’s time to get a new CO alarm.
  • Chirping that continues after the battery has been replaced means the alarm is at the end of its life and the unit must be replaced.