Fire Safety

Fire Safety Tips for your Cottage

Fire Safety is the most important topic for personal and property risk at the cottage. 

Cottage fire

There are no reasonable arguments for not doing the most basic prevention measures that can save lives and mitigate tens of thousands of dollars in potential damage.   Fire safety should be of paramount importance to all cottage residents and guests.

The was a recent tragedy on Christmas Eve 2016, when a family of four perished from a cottage fire in the McCrackens Landing area of Stoney Lake.    The cause of the fire was undetermined, however the lack of smoke detectors in critical locations was a major factor in failing to warn the occupants.  

Story on Stoney Lake Fire

Smoke Alarms:

Ontario Law states that you must have at least one working smoke alarm on each floor of a cottage and located near sleeping areas

Of particular importance is making sure there are working detectors at the highest point of the cottage such vaulted ceilings and staircases.   With the slower response time for fire fighting services in cottage country, the advance warning provided by smoke alarms is literally a matter of life and death.

Carbon Monoxide (CO) Detectors:

If you have a gas, oil, propane or wood-burning heating system or appliance, you need a carbon monoxide (CO) alarm.   CO is a colourless, odourless, tasteless gas that is referred to as "the Silent Killer".   Over 50 people die each year from CO poisoning in Canada supporting the installation of a CO detector in every cottage using combustible fuels.  The Ontario Building Code requires a CO detector in all homes built after 2001.   

Get online info about CO from the Technical Standards & Safety Authority.

TSSA info on carbon monoxide

Also check out the webpages of the Hawkins Gignac Foundation for links and current news about CO safety.

Carbon Monoxide Education

Fire Extinguishers:

Although not required by law, portable fire extinguishers are a crucial first defense to controlling a fire.  There are 3 primary categories of fires that the powder in the fire extinguishers are designed to extinguish.   Class A are for combustibles such as paper and wood.  Class B are for flammable liquids and Class C are for electrical fires.  Choose a fire extinguisher which is rated for all 3 classes. 

ABC fire extinguishers are the only kind to cover A, B, and C type fires.

Typical sizes for the home range from a 1A, 5B, C for a 2 lb. model up to 2A, 10B, C for about a 7 lb. model.  The best place to locate one is near the kitchen or at the entrance to the cottage.  Go to this website on fire extinguisher training for expert advice:

Fire Extinguisher Training

Chimney Fires:

With more and more cottages being used in colder months, the risk of a chimney fire increases.  A chimney fire starts when super-heated gases from your wood stove or fireplace ignite the creosote which builds up on the inside walls of the chimney.

Chimney fires are a greater risk at a cottage due to the distance from fire stations.

Creosote is a byproduct deposit from burning wood.   Burning only hardwoods, hot fires, and regular chimney and stove inspection/cleaning by a WETT (Wood Energy Technology Training) certified technician, are the key actions.  

Frequently Asked Questions on WETT Inspections

Storing Flammable Materials:

Flammable materials such as gas, kerosene, propane tanks, oils, lighter fluid, paint thinner, etc., should always be stored away from the cottage or any attached garages or storage rooms.  This rule also applies to storing lumber underneath a cottage