Basic Fire Safety Tips

Here are some basic fire safety tips that you can use to keep you and your family safe:

Install smoke detectors

  • Check smoke detectors once a month and change the batteries at least once a year.

  • Smoke detectors sense abnormal amounts of smoke or invisible combustion gases in the air and can detect both smoldering and burning fires.

  • Your nose goes to sleep when you do. By detecting smoke, a smoke alarm gives an early warning of fires and sounds the alarm to wake you up.

  • At least one smoke detector should be installed on every level of a structure, including basements.

  • Purchase smoke detectors labeled by the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) or Factory Mutual (FM).

  • If unsure on placement or require additional information, contact any member of the fire department.

  • The Fire Department will install free smoke detectors on request.

Install Fire Extinguishers

  • Fire extinguishers are divided into four categories, based on different types of fires. Each fire extinguisher also has a numerical rating that serves as a guide for the amount of fire the extinguisher can handle. The higher the number, the more fire-fighting power. The following is a quick guide to help choose the right type of extinguisher.

    • Class A extinguishers are for ordinary combustible materials such as paper, wood, cardboard, and most plastics. The numerical rating on these types of extinguishers indicates the amount of water it holds and the amount of fire it can extinguish.

    • Class B fires involve flammable or combustible liquids such as gasoline, kerosene, grease and oil. The numerical rating for class B extinguishers indicates the approximate number of square feet of fire it can extinguish.

    • Class C fires involve live electrical equipment, such as appliances, wiring, circuit breakers and outlets. Never use water to extinguish class C fires - the risk of electrical shock is far too great! Class C extinguishers do not have a numerical rating. The C classification means the extinguishing agent is non-conductive.

    • There is also a Class D fire extinguishers, for fires that involve combustible metals. This is not something that most homes would need.

  • For a general purpose household fire extinguisher, choose an A-B-C class.

  • In the kitchen, keep a box of baking soda handy. In the event of a grease fire, throw some baking soda on the fire. It generates carbon dioxide (CO2), which will smother the flames.

Exit Plans

  • Take the time with your family to plan how you would escape from your house in the event of a fire. Knowing ahead of time what to do will improve your chances of survival.

  • For each room in your house, identify two possible escape routes. Make sure everyone knows where the exits are. Have a meeting area outside, where you will gather to ensure that everyone is accounted for.

  • Have fire drills so that everyone, especially kids, knows what to do.

  • Click here for more information on exit plans.

Site Maintenance

  • One of the best things about living on Ships Point is living surrounded by the forest. However, this creates a risk that a brush fire could turn into a house fire or vice versa.

  • Metal roofs will resist burning embers blown from brush fires.

  • Keep your roof and gutters clear of leaves, pine needles and debris.

  • Avoid letting trees overhang your house.

  • Maintain a fire break around your house. Short grass for a distance around your house will resist the spread of fire and will improve the odds that fire crews can defend your house.

  • Be careful about storing gasoline or other flammable liquids on your property. Store them only in CSA-approved containers. Store the containers in well-ventilated outbuildings, not in your home. Refuel power equipment outdoors only.

How to Protect Your Home From Wildfire

  • Reduce the hazard of wildfire by taking preventative steps. The FireSmart BC Manual & FireSmart Guide to Landscaping can help you protect your home.

  • Consider purchase of a roof sprinkler system. The Wildfire Automated Sprinkler Protection (WASP) system is available for purchase through the Ships Point Volunteer Fire Fighters Association.

Post emergency numbers near telephones

  • Be aware that if a fire threatens your home, you should not place the call to emergency services from inside the home. It is better to get out and place the call to fire authorities from a safe location outside the home.

After a fire emergency

  • Give first aid where appropriate. Seriously injured victims should be transported to professional medical help immediately. Stay out of the damaged building. Return only when fire authorities say it is safe.

Make sure you have a safe fire escape method for all situations

  • You may have installed a very expensive home security system. But if you cannot escape the burning structure you have a false level of confidence.

Space Heaters Need Space

  • Keep portable and space heaters at least 3 feet from anything that may burn. Never leave heaters on when you leave home or go to sleep. Children and pets should always be kept away from them.

Smokers Need To Be Extra Careful

  • Never smoke in bed or when you are sleepy. Carelessly discarded cigarettes are a leading cause of fire deaths.

Be Careful Cooking

  • Keep cooking areas clear of combustibles and wear short or tight-fitting sleeves when you cook.

  • Keep the handles of your pots turned inward so they do not over-hang the stove.

  • If grease catches fire, carefully slide a lid over the pan and smother the flames, then turn off the burner.

  • For more information on cooking precautions, visit Fire Prevention Canada

Matches and Lighters are Dangerous

  • In the hands of a child, matches and lighters can be deadly! Store them where kids can't reach them, preferably in a locked area. Teach children that matches and lighters are "tools" and should only be used by adults.

Use Electricity Safely

  • If an appliance smokes or has an unusual smell, unplug it immediately and have it repaired. Replace frayed or cracked electrical cords and don't overload extension cords. They should not be run under rugs. Never tamper with the fuse box or use the improper size fuse.

Downed Power Lines

  • It’s not uncommon, following wind or snow storms, to have trees or large branches fall over hydro lines and cause power outages. If you see a fallen power line, please stay well clear of it. BC Hydro recommends that you stay, at least, 10 meters (33 feet) away from the wires or anything in contact with the wires.


  • If your vehicle makes contact with a downed power line, BC Hydro recommends that you remain inside your vehicle until help arrives. If you must exit your vehicle due to fire, jump out with your feet together and then shuffle away keeping your feet close together. Never contact the ground and the vehicle at the same time.

  • If you see a fallen power line, BC Hydro asks you to report it immediately giving the exact location of the problem. To report a power outage or downed line, call –
    1-888-POWERON (1-888-769-3766) Or, on a cell phone – *HYDRO (*49376)

    Complete information on how to prepare for and deal with a power outage can be found at BC Hydro.

Cool a Burn

  • If someone gets burned, immediately place the wound under cool water for 10 to 15 minutes. If the burn blisters or chars, see a doctor immediately!

Be Careful of Halogen Lights

  • If you have halogen lights, make sure they are away from flammable drapes and low ceiling areas. Never leave them on when you leave your home or office.

Reflective Address Signs

  • Is your home easy to find? What about at night?
    During a fire or other emergency, seconds count. Houses with missing or hard to read numbers can make it harder for emergency vehicles to find you.
    Reflective address signs are available for purchase in order to make your home more visible, both day and night. Contact the SPID Office.

Slow Down Move Over

  • When you see an emergency vehicle stopped on the side of the road with its lights flashing, please slow down and move over! It's the law in BC under the Motor Vehicle Act.

Sparky the Fire Dog

  • Learn about fire safety from Sparky, and have fun along the way! Great games, stories and activities for the whole family. Visit Sparky's Website