Every September many parents help their young adults pack up and leave the house for the first time to move into school residence, student housing or their first apartment. Central York Fire Services (CYFS) would like to remind both parents and students of the importance of fire safety and how to ensure you are living in a fire-safe environment.
"As we prepare our young adults to leave the nest, there are so many things to pack and lessons to try to pass along. But there's one talk that can make a big difference," says CYFS Fire Chief Ian Laing. "The fire safety talk can help give your young adults the insight they need to act if an emergency strikes when they are on their own. If you're helping them unpack, go through their new space with them to identify exit points and hazards while reviewing our fire safety checklist."
Make sure that your residence or student housing has the following:
- A working smoke alarm on every storey and outside all sleeping areas of the home or building – it's the law.
- Carbon monoxide alarms installed outside of all sleeping areas of the home or building.
CYFS asks students to follow these tips to ensure their safety:
- Never remove batteries to solve nuisance alarms. Only working smoke alarms save lives.
- Never leave burning candles unattended. Make sure to blow out the flame before leaving the room or going to sleep. Keep candles at least a foot away from anything that can catch fire (e.g., clothing, books, paper, curtains, combustible decorations) and ensure they are on a sturdy, uncluttered surface that can't be knocked over.
- Test your carbon monoxide and smoke alarms monthly by pressing the test button.
- Make sure all designated escape routes are accessible and free of clutter.
- Always remain in the kitchen when something is cooking. Stove top fires can start in an instant. Kitchen fires are the number one cause of home fires. (more tips for cooking safety here). Keep space heaters at least one metre (three feet) away from anything that can burn and make sure to turn off the heater before going to bed or leaving the room.
- Make sure that electrical cords of any kind are not concealed under carpets or rugs, where they can be easily damaged. Use multi-outlet power bars that are approved and provide surge protection and a circuit breaker to avoid overloading.
- When doing laundry, always clean the lint screen before and after each use and be careful not to overload the dryer. Keep the area around the dryer clear. (more tips for dryer safety here)
- Practice your home escape plan with all occupants of the home/building regularly so that everyone understands it. Be sure to identify two ways out and designate a safe space to meet outside the building.
For more fire safety tips for students living away from home, please visit cyfs.ca