How to prevent fires on your property
There's no place like home — so it makes sense to protect yours as best you can. Safeguarding your home against fire is a good place to start, but it's important to do the same for the rest of your property, including your yard.
How can I prevent fires on my property?
Fires that start in your yard can spread to your home or neighbouring properties, or even to nearby fields or woodlots, leaving serious damage in their wake. The good news is there are some simple steps you can take to prevent fires on your property, minimize damage, and stop fires from spreading to your home or through your neighbourhood.
- Keep a tidy yard. Clear your yard of brush, weeds, dead trees and shrubs, and anything else that could become kindling if a stray spark were to settle on it. Prune lower tree limbs so they don't become fire ladders, rake dead leaves out from under your deck, and clear leaves and twigs from your gutters.
- Move flammable materials away from your house. Store propane tanks and stack firewood at least 30 feet away from your house and away from matches, lighters, and other heat sources.
- Clean your barbeque before using it, and always keep an eye on it when it's lit. Keep kids, pets, and combustibles away from your barbeque and position it far enough away from wooden fences, vinyl siding, or anything else that can burn. If a grease fire does occur, put it out by smothering it with baking soda — not water, which could cause it to spread. Check out more barbecue safety tips here.
- If your home has an oil tank, have it inspected once per year. Regular inspections will ensure your oil tank is airtight so fuel doesn't overflow or leak.
- Water potted plants frequently. Potting soil contains peat moss, which is highly flammable if it gets too dry. The soil in your potted plants dries faster than garden beds, so make sure it stays moist. Check your municipality's water use restrictions, and in warm, sunny weather, water your plants in the early morning or evening so the water doesn't evaporate from the soil as quickly.
- Burn responsibly. If your region allows open air burning, either of brush or for campfires, make sure you get a permit (if required), and call local fire authorities before you burn. Avoid burning in windy weather, and always supervise the fire. Keep buckets of water, sand, and a shovel close by.
- Drive off-road vehicles with caution. Heat from the exhaust system of off-road vehicles and dirt bikes can start fires in tall grass in dry, hot weather.
- Properly dispose of cigarette butts. Cigarette butts that aren't properly contained can easily blow into your yard and create fires, especially when there are flammable materials nearby (like the peat moss in your garden or dry leaves under your deck). The safest place for cigarette butts is in a metal can filled with water.
How can I protect my property from wildfire damage?
Wildfires are especially dangerous and occur in many Canadian provinces and territories, typically between May and September. If wildfires are a threat where you live, follow advice from your provincial government or local fire department and take these steps to help prevent wildfires. You can also stay prepared by knowing what to do to before, during, and after a wildfire to keep your home and your family safe.
Even when you've taken all the right steps, fires can still happen. Reach out to your group's licensed home insurance broker to make sure you have the coverage you need to protect your home and belongings before the unexpected happens.
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