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Stir fry cooking with high flames

In this issue

Winter home protection tips
Fire safety tips for the holidays
Shift into winter driving mode
Avoid water damage this winter

Fire safety tips for the holidays

On a cold winter's night, nothing says “comfort” like a blazing fireplace and the warm glow of candles. But fire can turn from cozy to deadly in a split second.

According to Fire Prevention Canada, winter is the worst time for fires in the home — especially during the busy holiday season, when we have more going on than usual. More décor, cooking, entertaining and candles mean more distractions and fire hazards. (Source: “Winter Safety”, Fire Prevention Canada)

Research from the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) shows that nearly 1 in 3 residential fires are caused by carelessness. So when temperatures drop and snow begins to fly, make fire prevention top of mind. (Source: “Fire Prevention Week” media release, IBC)

Keep cool in the kitchen
Most house fires start in the kitchen. Overheated cooking oil or grease can easily burst into flames and cause the fastest spreading, most destructive type of residential fire. Plan ahead when cooking so that you can react quickly in case of fire.

  • Don't leave hot pans unattended. If you leave the kitchen, even for a short period of time, turn the stove off.
  • Monitor progress. Use a timer to remind you about food in the oven and check it regularly while it's cooking.
  • Keep a pan lid or cookie sheet close by. If grease or oil catch fire when pan-frying, slide the lid or cookie sheet over the top of the pan to smother the fire, then turn off the burner.
  • Have a fire extinguisher handy. Keep one next to the stove — in fact, it's a good idea to have a fire extinguisher on every floor of your home.
  • Never attempt to move a flaming pot or pan. The movement can fan the flames and spread the fire. The pan will likely be very hot, causing you to drop it and spill the flaming contents.
  • Keep your oven clean. Grease and food splatters can ignite at high temperatures.
  • Broil with care. Place the rack 5 to 8 cm from the broiler element. Always place a drip pan beneath the broiler rack to catch the fat drippings — not aluminum foil, because accumulated fat on the foil can catch fire or spill over.
  • Never throw water on a grease fire. If you don't have a lid, use baking soda (not flour, which can explode) on shallow grease fires.
  • Turn off the exhaust fan. Don't turn it on if a pot or pan is in flames, as this can spread the fire.

Keep the home fires burning — safely
A crackling fire adds ambience and warmth to your home. But a fireplace or woodstove also adds the risk of a house fire. Use caution and take preventative measures to avoid fire danger.

  • Have chimneys and woodstove pipes professionally inspected and cleaned annually; check them monthly for damage or obstructions.
  • Open the damper before lighting the fire and keep it open until the ashes are cool to the touch.
  • Never burn gift wrap, boxes, cartons, or other types of packaging — they burn too rapidly and generate too much heat.
  • Never use BBQ charcoal starter fluid, gasoline or any flammable substance to start fires.

Be careful with candles
The glowing warmth of candlelight makes it easy to forget that candles have an open flame that can reach up to 1,400°C. Most candle fires begin in the bedroom, where bedding and mattresses are quick to ignite.

  • Burn candles in sturdy, non-flammable containers that won't tip over and are big enough to collect dripping wax.
  • Keep candle wicks short; trim the wick to one-quarter inch (6.4 mm).
  • Extinguish candles when leaving the room or going to sleep.
  • Never place lit candles near windows, where blinds or curtains can ignite.
  • Don't use candles in high-traffic areas where people or pets might knock them over.
  • Avoid decorative or novelty candles that feature flammable paint, paper, dried flowers, or containers that might break or melt.


The information contained in this article is for informational purposes only. Intact Insurance makes no representation, warranty or guarantee that use of this information will prevent damage or reduce your premium. Your insurance contract prevails at all times, please consult it for a complete description of coverage and exclusions. Products provided by Intact Insurance Company. Services provided by your broker. ®Intact Insurance Design and Intact Insurance small straight lines Design are registered trademarks of Intact Financial Corporation used under license. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. ©2014 Intact Insurance Company Inc. All rights reserved.