Keeping your home fire safe while spending more time within it

Make sure you're charging your cellphone on a hard surface to prevent heat buildup

Many folks are expecting to spend a fair amount more time indoors as we head into Spring; with health officials urging self-isolation, home is the place to be of late.

“We do know that most fires occur in people’s homes,” says Barrie Fire Prevention Officer Samantha Hoffmann, “it makes sense that because more people are spending time at home, that the chances of seeing more house fires are pretty high,”

To combat that, Hoffmann is offering up some advice, especially to those keeping contact with the outside world through devices like a smartphone. “we really want to remind people, those devices need to be charged on a hard surface, never put them on your bed or on carpeting, or even on the side of the couch while they’re charging,” says Hoffmann, “they’ve got to be on hard surfaces with lots of air movement because we have seen a number of fires caused with the by those devices.”

Hoffmann adds there are still plenty of distractions at home that could take you away from the kitchen, “I can’t think of a better reason to forget a pot on the stove than having to run in and stand in front of the television or listen to the radio because the premier is giving out more information on COVID19 or that the Prime Minister has information for us,” she told Barrie 360 over the phone, “So what we want to do is encourage people to do this safely. If you have to leave the kitchen, turn the stove off. If you don’t If you can’t turn the stove off and wear an oven mitt, if you’re standing there in another room and you’ve got an oven mitt on, it’s a pretty good visual cue that no, maybe I should be back in the kitchen.” Hoffmann reminds us the number one cause of house fires is unattended cooking.

With the kids spending more time at home due to a prolonged March Break, it would be worthwhile to make doubly sure the house is safe. ” kids are curious,” said Hoffmann, “so if kids don’t have access to matches and lighters, they won’t be able to play with it. So it’s really important that people pay attention to that and keep them locked up.” Hoffmann adds that after adults are done using the lighter, she hopes they continue to be responsible. “people that smoke, smoke to relax.” she added, “We hope that they smoke outside and that they smoke safely. And by saying smoke safely that when they’re finished with their cigarettes that they put them out completely. And we recommend sand or water for that.”

The Barrie Fire and Emergency Service has some fun, educational resources for kids on its website, including tips on creating a home escape plan.