So this isn’t going to be funny like the Jim Carey character Fire Marshall Bill from the 90s comedy show, In Living Color, but I hope that this got your attention and will get you thinking about fire safety. Just last week there was a big fire that gutted a house near College and Dufferin, leaving the basement tenant in critical condition. It is a real shame as the list below may have helped to protect her. I am shocked at how many fire hazards I see in homes, especially tenanted space! I was in a multi unit house in Dovercourt Park last night that was sad to see, full of safety concerns and neglected by the landlord.
This warning is pertinent to homes, apartments, condominiums and businesses.
Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms – both of these alarms are essential for safety, fire code mandates fire alarms. There is talk of recent that a law is coming into place here in Toronto mandating that all homes have carbon monoxide detectors (there is no way for people to detect carbon monoxide through smell). An interconnected fire alarm system is the best bet (especially when dealing with multi unit accommodations), however it is essential to ensure that there is a battery power backup as the electrical lines can be compromised thereby cutting the power. Test your alarms monthly to ensure operational functions are working.
Home escape planning and emergency communications – have a discussion with tenants, roommates, family members etc. regarding the best way to escape the house and have a meeting place at a safe distance from the dwelling. Obviously call 911. All tenanted basements must have two means of egress (ways to escape, that meet the building and fire codes of your province)
Heating and cooking – ensure all stove elements, ovens, kettles, frying pans, irons, hair-dryers, etc are off or unplugged. Be careful of fuel burning appliances. It is best to keep the appropriate fire extinguisher at hand, see this link for the different fire extinguisher types.
I could go on and on about what I see in houses, fire rated doors, ceilings, tenants burning candles while not in their space, the list is endless. So be careful and if you are a landlord be respectful and mindful of the law!