Pickering Fire Services launches fire safety campaign

Pickering Fire Services will be going door-to-door once again for the ‘Get Real Pickering!’ fire education campaign.

The five-week campaign begins September 21 and focuses on educating residents about fire safety and fire-related issues in the community.

Select Pickering households will receive an information card in the mail, followed by a visit from Pickering firefighters who will be available to discuss the reality of fires in the community, and answer fire-related questions. Over 6,000 residences are visited each year as part of this campaign.

“It is our fourth year running this campaign, and it proves to be a success each year as we are able to educate Pickering residents on fire safety issues within our community,” said Fire Chief, John Hagg. “It is a great opportunity for residents to meet our firefighters, and have all of their questions answered.”

Chief Hagg hopes that through education, awareness, and teamwork, fire-related fatalities, injuries, and property damage can be reduced throughout the city.

Additional information on protecting one’s family from fire is available at pickering.ca/GetRealPickering.

Fires are happening in your community!

What you need to know about fires in Pickering:

  1. Millions of dollars of damage are caused by structure fires annually
  2. The number one cause of fires and fire-related injuries is careless cooking
  3. Fire-related deaths consistently occur in homes

Fire Prevention

1. Cooking

Cooking is the number one cause of residential fires in Ontario. Many fatal fires are caused by people attempting to cook while under the influence of alcohol. Keep a close eye on anyone in your household who is drinking and attempts to cook.

  • Cooking left unattended is the most common type of kitchen fire.
  • Always stay in the kitchen when cooking, especially if using oil or high temperatures.
  • Keep a proper fitting lid near the stove when cooking. If a pot or pan catches fire, slide the lid over the pot and turn off the stove. Do not attempt to move the pot or pan.
  • Keep combustible items such as cooking utensils, dishcloths, paper towels and pot holders a safe distance away from the stove.

Get Real Pickering - Cooking

2. Smoking

Careless smoking is the leading cause of fire deaths in Ontario. Encourage smokers to smoke outside and never allow anyone in your home to smoke in bed.

  • Never extinguish cigarettes in plant pots, which often contain a mixture of peat moss, shredded wood and bark that can easily ignite.
  • Use large deep ashtrays that can’t be knocked over.
  • Empty ashtrays into a metal container, not the garbage can, and store the container outside.

3. Candles

Candles are a common cause of home fires and are easily preventable. Ensure lit candles are kept out of reach of children and pets. Don’t forget to always blow out candles before leaving the room.

  • Keep all combustible materials, including decorative materials and wreaths, away from lit candles.
  • Secure candles in a sturdy holder, in a location where they can’t be knocked over.
  • Buy good quality candles that are smoke-free and drip-free.

4. Electrical

Don’t let your home improvement dream become a nightmare. Follow the law by using licensed electricians. Find out what’s required if your renovation plans include electrical work by contacting the Electrical Safety Authority (ESA). ESA also posts a list of electrical product recalls.

  • Extension cords should be used only as a temporary connection. If permanent wiring is required, have additional outlets installed by a licensed electrician.
  • Check electrical cords for damage such as fraying or nicks and avoid running them under rugs. A damaged cord can expose wires and result in a potential shock or fire hazard.
  • Avoid overloading a circuit with “octopus outlets”. If additional outlets or circuits are required, have them installed by a licensed electrician.

5. Matches and Lighters

Every year in Ontario, children are injured or die in fires they start themselves. In the hands of children, matches and lighters can be deadly weapons.

  • Keep all fire starting materials out of the sight and reach of children.
  • Teach young children not to touch matches and to tell an adult if they find them.
  • If you suspect your child is involved in inappropriate fireplay call Pickering Fire Services, Fire Prevention for information and assistance.

Carbon Monoxide Prevention

In Ontario, over 65 per cent of all carbon monoxide deaths and injuries occur in homes. Most people have heard of carbon monoxide and know that it’s dangerous. However, it’s often a mystery of where it comes from, how it’s produced and what precautions can be taken to ensure it doesn’t endanger you or your family. For more information on how you can take action visit our Carbon Monoxide information page or contact the Technical Standards and Safety Authority.

It is the responsibility of homeowners and landlords to install and maintain carbon monoxide alarms outside all sleeping areas. Failure to install and maintain working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms could result in a ticket for $360 or a fine of up to $50,000 for individuals or $100,000 for corporations.

Carbon monoxide is commonly produced as a by-product of combustion when common fuel-burning appliances and equipment that use natural gas, oil, wood, propane and kerosene, don’t get enough air to burn up completely. When this happens, carbon monoxide can build up, especially in a confined room or space. This can lead to toxic effects on humans and pets.

  • Ensure fuel-burning appliances, chimneys and vents are cleaned and inspected by professionals every year before cold weather sets in. Visit COSafety.ca to find a registered contractor near you.
  • Ensure vents for the dryer, furnace, stove, fireplace and other fuel-burning appliances should always be clear of snow and other debris.
  • Gas and charcoal barbeques should only be used outside, away from all doors, windows, vents, and other building openings. Never use barbeques inside garages, even if the garage doors are open.
  • Portable fuel-burning generators should only be used outdoors in well-ventilated areas away from windows, doors, vents and other building openings.
  • Ensure all portable fuel-burning heaters are vented properly, according to manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Never use the stove or oven to heat your home.
  • Open the flue before using a fireplace for adequate ventilation.
  • Never run a vehicle or other fueled engine or motor inside a garage, even if the garage doors are open. Always remove a vehicle from the garage immediately after starting it.


Smoke Alarms

Working smoke alarms can increase your chances of surviving a fire by up to 50%. It is the responsibility of homeowners to install and maintain smoke alarms on every storey of their home and outside all sleeping areas. It is against the law to remove the batteries or tamper with smoke alarms in any way.

  • When installing smoke alarms, refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for information on the correct placement
  • Test smoke alarms every month using the test button
  • Replace smoke alarm batteries at least once a year and whenever the low battery warning sound chirps
  • Replace smoke alarms if they are more than 10 years old, even the hardwired type!
It is the responsibility of homeowners and landlords to install and maintain smoke alarms on every storey of the home and outside all sleeping areas. Failure to install and maintain working smoke alarms could result in a ticket for $360 or a fine of up to $50,000 for individuals or $100,000 for corporations.

Carbon Monoxide Alarms

A properly installed and maintained carbon monoxide alarm can alert you to when the poisonous gas is present. They usually have a life expectancy of approximately 5-7 years or as indicated by the manufactures requirements. If the alarm sounds, evacuate your home quickly. Call the Pickering Fire Services at 911 from outside and ask them to check your home for the presence of carbon monoxide.

  • If your home has a fuel-burning appliance or an attached garage, install a CO alarm adjacent to each sleeping area.
  • For optimum protection, it is recommended that additional CO alarms be installed in other levels and/or areas of the home that are in proximity to a CO source, subject to the distance limits provided in the product’s instruction manual.

It is the responsibility of homeowners and landlords to install and maintain carbon monoxide alarms outside all sleeping areas. Failure to install and maintain working carbon monoxide alarms could result in a ticket for $360 or a fine of up to $50,000 for individuals or $100,000 for corporations.

Get Real Pickering - Alarms
GetReal_FA.jpgSmoke Alarm         GetReal_CMD.jpgCarbon Monoxide Alarm


You may only have seconds to safely escape your home if there is a fire. Know what to do when the smoke alarms sounds. Sit down with everyone in your household and discuss how each person will get out of the home if a fire occurs. Plan and practise your escape, it could save your life tonight!

Get Real Pickering - Escape Plan

1. Make sure everyone knows two ways out of each room

  • If the door of a room is blocked by smoke or fire, discuss an alternate escape route such as additional exits or windows.
  • Make sure all windows open easily and screens can be removed.
  • Security bars on windows should have quick-releasing devices so they can be easily removed.

2. Help those who need it!

  • Determine who will be responsible for helping young children, older adults, people with disabilities or anyone else who may need assistance.

3. Choose a meeting place outside

  • A tree, street light or the end of the driveway are great meeting places. Make sure the meeting place is in the front of the home.
  • In case of fire, everyone should go directly to the meeting place to be accounted for.
  • Avoid going to a neighbour’s home until Pickering Fire Services has arrived on scene, so firefighters know occupants are safe.

If you come across smoke while escaping, get low and go under the smoke to the nearest safe exit. Most fire deaths are the result of smoke inhalation. Get out and stay out! Never re-enter a burning building. Once you have safely escaped, call the Pickering Fire Services from outside your home using a cell phone or from a neighbour’s home.

Apartment and Condominium Buildings

Your fire safety is your responsibility! If you live in an apartment or condominium, your safety also depends on the actions of the building management and other residents. Every fire is potentially dangerous and unpredictable, so do not underestimate the risk to your life. Fire and smoke move very quickly, and the conditions in any part of the building may change in an instant. Smoke can spread throughout a building and enter your suite even when the fire is many floors away. During an emergency, you will not have much time to decide what to do. Make sure you know what to do ahead of time.

Take time to review the Fire in Your Apartment page.  It provides detailed information about when to leave your suite and when to stay in your suite. It also addresses common myths and questions regarding fire safety in apartment and condominium buildings.

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