Home safety tips
Home safety tips
For your home
- In case of fire, get out and stay out. If you must escape through smoke, crawl low on your hands and knees to the closest exit. Have two ways out of a room, and know and practice your home fire escape plan.
- Never leave cooking food on the stovetop unattended and keep a close eye on food cooking inside the oven. Always have a lid or cutting board nearby to slide over the pan in case of fire.
- If using a space heater, keep it at least one metre (3 ft) away from anything that can burn. Secure heater so it doesn't get tipped over accidentally by your pet and do not run the electrical cord under a carpet or throw rug. Be sure to turn off the space heater before going to bed. Inspect all electrical cords in the home for fraying, broken plugs or loose connections.
- Install a smoke alarm on every level of your home and outside all sleeping areas. Test your smoke alarms once a month and change the batteries in battery-operated ones when you change your clock. Smoke alarms that are 10 years old and older need to be replaced.
- Carbon monoxide is an invisible, odourless gas that can quickly kill you. Have your furnace and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year and install a carbon monoxide alarm.
- Keep matches and lighters out of the reach and sight of children. Smokers are encouraged to smoke outside and to use a proper ashtray to extinguish smoking materials.
- Keep all medications and household cleaners locked away and out of reach of children.
- Only use safe holders for candles and never leave a burning candle unattended. Keep lit candles safely away from children and pets and blow out all candles before leaving the room or going to bed. Burning candles need to be at least 0.3 metres (1 ft) away from anything that can burn.
- Shut off appliances such as coffee makers, clothes dryers and dishwashers before leaving the house.
- Prevent falls before they happen. Use a non-slip surface in the bathtub and ensure stair rails are secure and carpets are firmly attached.
- Is your house number or home address visible from the road? Ensure your children and sitter know emergency numbers and your home address. Post your address near a landline phone or on the fridge door.
- Ensure there is a minimum clearance of one metre around all gas fired appliances (furnace and hot water tank) and that no combustibles are stored behind or besde these units. Turn the hot water heater thermostat to less than 50 degrees C (medium setting) to prevent risk of scalding.
- Keep the dryer lint catch clean and clear.
- Never store flammable fuels (e.g. gasoline, camp fuel and propane) inside your home.
- Keep your butt out of it. Do not use flower planters as a substitute for an ashtray. Dispose of used smoking materials by butting out in a metal container with sand (for example, an old coffee can) or a commercially-made ashtray.
- Cool your ashes before placing them in the green cart.
- If you have a fire hydrant on your property, in the winter months, ensure it is kept free of snow and ice.
- If thawing frozen water lines in a confined space (rural) in your home, stay close by. This can be a potential fire hazard.
- Don't overfill gasoline and propane tanks, and refuel gas powered engines outside.
Know the rules of outdoor burning
1. Do I need a fire permit?
Fires that require a fire permit include open fires and incinerator (burn barrel) fires. This type of burning is not allowed within:
- Sherwood Park
- North and South Cooking Lake
- Antler Lake
- Hastings Lake
- Half Moon Lake
- Collingwood Cove
Fires that do not require a fire permit include recreational fire pits (pots, bowls, fire pots or chimineas) and smudge fires.
All fires are subject to a fire ban.
Fire permit holders must either call Strathcona County’s 24 hours Burning Status Line at 780-464-8464 or text the word “BURN” to 587-340-3696 prior to each time you burn to confirm that conditions allow for burning at that time.
2. What is a recreational fire pit?
A recreational fire pit is totally confined within a non-combustible structure or container that has the draft and smoke vents covered with a heavy gauge metal screen. The screen must have a mesh size no larger than 13 mm (1/2 inch) that precludes the escape of any combustible materials, including ash. They do not require a fire permit, but are subject to a fire ban.
Fire pits can include fire pots, bowls, tables or chimineas, and must be situated a minimum of three metres (10 feet) away from any other combustible product (e.g. fence, house, garage, deck or trees).
A recreational fire may only be fuelled with dry wood, charcoal, coal, natural gas or propane. At no time should a recreational fire pit be used to burn garbage, leaves, straw or any other prohibited burning materials.
3. Do I need permit for a chiminea or fire pot?
Chimineas and portable fire pots (pits or bowls) fall under then definition of “fire pits” and therefore do not require a fire permit There must be at least three metres clearance from any combustible materials and the front opening and the stack must be covered with a metal screen with a mesh size no larger than 13 mm.
When positioning your chiminea, find a level, immovable, non-combustible surface to set it on. Do not put your chiminea in a gazebo, on a wooden surface or in an enclosed porch. Insulate the bowl with sand or pea gravel to approximately 10 cm below the lower lip of the mouth so that the fire is not in direct contact with the clay.
Store your chiminea inside a shed or garage during the winter. The combination of freezing temperatures and moisture could cause it to crack. Place it on a pallet or pieces of wood so that air can circulate underneath.
4. Is there anything I'm not allowed to burn?
As per Emergency Services Bylaw 68-2000, it is illegal to burn:
- food waste
- animal carcasses and manure
- treated construction materials
- rubber and plastics
- herbicides and pesticides
- any other toxic materials which may produce dense black smoke
- painted, stained or pressure treated wood
- railroad tiles
The above materials must be disposed of by other means, such as using Strathcona County’s Enviroservice events. For more information, phone Utilties at 780-449-5514.
5. What do I do if I believe someone is burning improperly?
The health and safety of our residents is very important. That includes incidents of excessive or toxic smoke, burning prohibited materials, burning improperly or burning during a fire advisory or ban.
Residents with complaints of this nature are encouraged to call 9-1-1. If it is determined that a resident is burning improperly, penalties may be imposed at the Fire Marshal’s discretion.
6. Can I burn my household garbage?
Burning household garbage is not allowed on properties 5 acres or less.
A fire permit is required to burn household garbage. Refer to question “Is there anything I’m not allowed to burn?” for prohibited burning materials.
Smoke and odours from burning plastics, food scraps and other garbage are unpleasant for neighbours. It is also harmful to the environment and is a safety hazard.
Call 780-449-5514 for more information on Strathcona County recycling stations and other waste removal options.