What to Do if There Is a Fire Near Your Home

What to Do if There Is a Fire Near Your Home


– Step 1: Be equipped in case of fire

– Step 2: Maintain the vegetation

– Step 3: Protect Yourself from fuel sources

– Step 4: Case 1: Suspicious smoke

– Step 4: Case 2: The fire is close

– Step 4: Case 3: The fire is at your door

– Step 5: Water after the fire

Many homes can be put at risk when a fire starts outside. It will help if you use your reflexes and essential equipment while waiting for aid and stopping the fire from spreading.

According to Natural Resources Canada, 4,000 forest fires burnt over 1.8 million hectares (ha) of forest in Canada in 2019. Nearly all of the significant forest fires occurred in the boreal forest regions of Yukon, northern Alberta, and northwestern Ontario, all of which are prone to large flames.. But fires can occur anywhere during the dry seasons.

Here are some vital tips on what to do in case of a fire near your home.

Be equipped in case of fire

You can quickly stop a fire this way:

– Have a hose large enough (40 meters) to go around the house and a ladder to access the roof.

– Remember to have a water source nearby. If you have a swimming pool, you may be equipped with a motor pump (heat engine) and fire hoses.

– Make it a habit to test your equipment regularly to make sure it’s working, so you’re ready if a fire breaks out.

– Keep in mind that in the event of a fire, the electricity goes out most of the time. Instead, opt for manually operated shutters. Also, consider that the garden hose can be used and pressurized without electricity.

Maintain the vegetation

Maintaining the vegetation in your garden can, in many cases, prevent disasters. Follow the guidelines for a safe attitude:

– Maintain the access road to your house; its width should be at least 3 meters to allow fire trucks to pass easily and incredibly quickly.

– Avoid tall trees within 20 meters of the house.

– Maintain a distance of at least 3 metres between the branches of trees and your house walls.

– Cut down dead trees.

– Be sure to space your trees. Branches should not touch each other so that fire does not spread from tree to tree.

– Prune your trees and cut low branches (less than 3 meters from the ground).

– Remove small shrubs from under trees.

– Dispose of cut vegetation (shredder, landfill).

– Rake needles and leaves up to 50 meters from your home. Even beyond that, if you can.

– Clean your roof of all vegetation before the dry season.

– Clear vegetation regularly. In southern areas, there are many regulations to follow.

Note: check with your local city hall to find out the regulations for clearing brush, as they change according to the city.

Protect yourself from fuel sources

Garden equipment, such as a plastic table and chairs, are real combustibles in a fire. Remember to protect yourself from them:

– Keep them about 10 yards away from your living walls and about 40 yards away from vegetation.

– Do not place them in the axis of the most frequent wind.

– Take them inside your home when you are not using them.

– Use fireproof wood or fireproof varnish on your fences, palisades and stairs.

– Store firewood at least 10 metres away from the house.

– Your shutters and gutters should not be made of PVC, as it is a highly flammable material.

4. Case 1: Suspicious smoke

If you see smoke in the distance:

– Call 911 to notify the fire services.

– Give your name.

– Indicate the most convenient and fastest route for the firefighters to come to the scene.

– Specify what type of vegetation is burning and the extent of the fire.

– Mention the direction of the fire.

– Provide your phone number so that firefighters can contact you if they need to.

– Clear access for firefighters.

4. Case 2: The fire is close

What to Do if There Is a Fire Near Your Home (1)

– Stay calm.

– Call the fire services at 911.

– Clear the access roads for the arrival of the firemen and open your gate.

– Turn off the gas taps inside your home.

– Park your car against a wall of your house and out of the wind. Close your windows.

– Put your garden hoses and motor pump inside your home. They will come in handy after the fire.

– If you have a swimming pool, make it accessible to firefighters (for example, open the pool cover or gates).

– Place your plastic garden furniture inside.

– Close the shutters and the trap door of your fireplace, if you have one.

– Carry a flashlight and a cell phone, as fires cause power outages.

– Gather your important papers (ID card, chequebook, property deed…) and put them in a bag to take with you when you evacuate.

– Stay alert, and wait for the fire department’s evacuation instructions.

4. Case 3: The fire is at your door

– Call 911 to notify the fire services.

– Gather your family and your animals inside the house.

– Close the shutters and the chimney hatch.

– Place damp cloths at the bottom of doors and over the vents to keep smoke out.

– Remember to carry your cell phone, a battery-powered radio to hear the progress of the fire, and electric light, as the power will most likely be out.

– Do not leave your home unless firefighters authorize you.

Important: If your house is prefabricated, take shelter in a neighbour’s house that is “solid”.

5. Water after the fire

When you are sure the fire is over:

– To protect yourself from possible splashes of residual fire, dress to cover all surfaces of your body with thick cotton clothing (no synthetic clothing). Wear a cap, scarf, goggles, gloves (preferably leather), and high-top shoes.

– Take your hose and motorized pump and spray the remaining fireplaces thoroughly. Remember to turn over the ashes, as embers can be placed underneath.

– Water the walls and roof of your home thoroughly.

– Remember to seek medical attention if you have been burned.

Important: keep an eye on your home, as embers may be placed in vents or under tiles. Water them thoroughly.

Finally, a shortlist of equipment to know what to do in case of fire near your home

Fireproof blanket 

Fire engine 

Water hose 

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