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How to Fire-Proof Your Home

There are about 24,000 house fires each year in Canada that result in an average of 377 deaths, and 3,048 injuries. As Fire Prevention Week begins, let’s talk about some of the ways we can fireproof our homes.

Choose Fireproof Materials

Create a fireproof barrier around your house.

Gravel and concrete on the ground help create a break line. You can also use small, fire-retardant plants that grow close to the ground. Some fire-resistant plants include California lilac, California fuchsia, ornamental strawberry, yellow ice plant and French lavender. Look for plants that are low-resin and high in moisture.


Clear the area 30 feet around your home of dead grass and leaves. Mow the lawn frequently, space out vegetation and trim tree branches.

Make sure firetrucks have access to your home. 

Make sure that even your driveway is solid enough to sustain a firetruck. It also helps to have a good place to turn the truck around. Also, think about anything that could block access, such as a gate.

Use fireproof materials for your roof and siding. 

If you must have a wood roof, make sure the shingles have been painted with a fire-resistant treatment. Planning on re-roofing in the next future? Use tile, metal, and even concrete on your roof, and, when it comes to siding, use brick, stucco, or stone instead of wood and poly­vinyl. Finally, make sure you keep the roof and gutters clear of debris.

Frame your windows in metal. 

Many houses use wooden window frames, but that can be a way for fire to enter your house. Instead, use metal frames, which are more flame resistant. Having multi-layered glass can also help.

Skip wood decks. 

Decks can be ignition areas. Because wood is a cheap building material, it’s often used for decks. However, that can be a way for a fire to attach to your home. Instead, try tile, concrete, brick, or stone for deck, which are more fire-resistant.

Implement Safety Features

Install fire alarms. 

Smoke alarms cut your family’s risk of dying in a fire by half. Install one in every bedroom, as well as one on each floor. Place the detectors high, as the smoke will rise to them.

Check fire alarms twice a year.

Make sure they’re working. If they’re not, you’ll need to change the battery.

Have a fire extinguisher in your house.

A good place to keep one is in the kitchen, as that is where many fires start. Make sure it is accessible to everyone in the house and that everyone who is old enough knows how to use it. If you have a multi-story home, keep one on each floor.

Have an escape plan. 

Before a fire ever happens, you should be aware of the best ways to get out of your house. Try to have at least two ways to get out of every room. Also, make a designated meeting spot for your family. Practise your plan with the kids.

Put a fire ladder in each upstairs adult’s bedroom. 

Fire ladders, made of a material like aluminium, can help you escape (while helping children) in case of a fire.

Install vents.

They will block embers and flames from entering.

Picture of Anne-Marie Grantham

Anne-Marie Grantham

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