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NFPA offers free safety tip sheets on a variety of fire and life safety topics. Download, print and share these tip sheets to spread the word about fire safety.

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If you do not wish to customize the sheet, delete the text Name of Organization Here and Contact Information Here.


Fire and safety equipment

Household equipment






Unintentional injuries


Safety and Fire Prevention - Top 10 Fire Safety Tips

Install and maintain smoke alarms

  • Smoke alarms alert you to fire and give you time to escape.
  • Install smoke alarms on each level of your home.
  • Test smoke alarms regularly and follow the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Replace weak or dead batteries immediately with new ones.
  • Remember, if your smoke alarms are hardwired they will not function during a power failure - consider installing a backup battery powered smoke alarm as an additional asset to your home.

    Have a home fire escape plan

Make a home fire escape plan and practice your plan so that everyone knows what to do in the event of a fire emergency.

  • Prepare and practice a fire escape plan with every member of your household.
  • Look for two ways out of each room - windows and doors. If you get caught in smoke, the cleanest air will be near the floor.
  • Get down on your hands and knees and crawl to the nearest safe exit.
  • Arrange an outside meeting place and a safe location to call 9-1-1.
  • Never go back inside for anything!

Kitchen Safety

  • Never leave cooking unattended.
  • Keep children at least 1 metre away from around the stove.
  • Don't wear loose fitting clothing and be careful not to reach over hot burners.
  • If a pot catches fire, cover it with a lid to smother the flames and turn off the burner.
  • Keep pot handles turned inward.

Candle Safety

  • Don't use candles if you have pets or children in the house.
  • Extinguish candles before leaving the room or going to sleep.
  • Place candles in sturdy containers and at least 0.3 metres(one foot) away from anything that can burn.

Space heaters need space

  • Keep portable and space heaters at least 1 metre (3 feet) from anything that can burn.
  • Never leave heaters on when you leave the house or go to bed.
  • Keep children well away from heaters.

Smoking is hazardous

  • Encourage smokers to smoke outside. Provide sturdy, deep ashtrays and make sure cigarette butts and ashes are out before throwing them away.
  • Remember it is just as dangerous to fall asleep smoking on the couch or in a chair as it is in a bed. Never smoke in bed or when you are feeling drowsy.
  • Smokers need watchers. Before going to sleep, check under and around sofa cushions and upholstered furniture for smouldering cigarettes.

Keep matches and lighters out or reach

  • Keep matches and lighters out of reach of children - up high and preferably locked up.
  • Teach children that matches and lighters are only for adults.

Use electricity safely

  • If an appliance smokes or smells like it is burning, unplug it immediately and have it repaired.
  • Check all of your electrical cords and replace any that are cracked or frayed.
  • Don't overload electrical outlets or run extension cords under rugs or carpets.
  • Don't tamper with the fuse boxes or use fuses of improper size.
  • Unplug items such as toaster and coffee makers when not in use.

Stop, drop and roll

If your clothes catch fire, don't run.

  • Stop where you are,
  • Drop gently to the ground, cover your face with your hands to protect your face and lungs,
  • Roll over and over until to the flames are smothered.

Power failures

  • When power fails don't use open flames or a charcoal grill indoors.
  • Don't use gas-fuelled appliances as alternative heating sources indoors.
  • If you plan to use a portable generator, don't connect household items to the generator unless you have it wired professionally - don't hook the generator up to your home's electrical system.
  • Be sure the generator is kept outside where exhaust doesn't enter buildings.
  • Test your smoke alarms now - remember, if they're hardwired they won't function during a power failure - install backup battery-powered smoke alarms for additional protection.

In case of fire or an emergency, call 9-1-1.

Safety and Fire Prevention - Burn Injuries

One of the most painful injuries that one can ever experience is a burn injury. When a burn occurs to the skin, nerve endings are damaged causing intense feelings of pain. Every year, millions of people are burned in one way or another. Of those, thousands die as a result of their burns. Many require long-term hospitalization.

Serious burns are complex injuries. In addition to the burn injury itself, a number of other functions may be affected. Burn injuries can affect muscles, bones, nerves, and blood vessels. The respiratory system can be damaged, with possible airway obstruction, respiratory failure and respiratory arrest. Since burns injure the skin, they impair the body's normal fluid/electrolyte balance, body temperature, body thermal regulation, joint function, manual dexterity, and physical appearance. In addition to the physical damage caused by burns, patients also may suffer emotional and psychological problems that begin at the emergency scene and could last a long time.

Burn Injuries

The Skin

The skin is the largest organ in the body and performs many important functions. It protects against infection by keeping out bacteria. It prevents loss of body fluids and helps control body temperature.

Depth of Burn

The depth of burn is usually categorized as superficial partial-thickness, deep partial-thickness or full-thickness.

Superficial partial-thickness (also know as superficial second degree)

A superficial partial-thickness burn resembles a deep sunburn and is very painful. It will usually heal on its own within ten days.

Deep partial-thickness (also known as deep second degree)

A deep partial-thickness burn is also very painful and blisters will form over the burned area. It may take at least three weeks to heal.

Full-thickness (also known as third degree)

A full-thickness burn involves damage to all the layers of the skin, including the skin-reproducing cells. This wound will require skin grafting to heal.

First Degree Burn Second Degree Burn Third Degree Burn

The severity of a burn injury depends on the depth and size of the burn wound, patient’s age, the patient’s past medical problems and part of the body that has been burned. It is difficult to predict how long it will take for a patient’s injury to heal as all individuals recover at different rates.

It is not always possible to tell the depth of the injury when a patient is admitted. It often takes several days to determine whether the burn wound will heal on its own or if it will require skin grafting.

Determining the severity of burns

  • Source of the burn - a minor burn caused by nuclear radiation is more severe than a burn caused by thermal sources. Chemical burns are dangerous because the chemical may still be on the skin.
  • Body regions burned - burns to the face are more severe because they could affect airway management or the eyes. Burns to hands and feet are also of special concern because they could impede movement of fingers and toes.
  • Degree of the burn - the degree of the burn is important because it could cause infection of exposed tissues and permit invasion of the circulatory system.
  • Extent of burned surface areas - It is important to know the percentage of the amount of the skin surface involved in the burn. The adult body is divided into regions, each of which represents nine percent of the total body surface. These regions are the head and neck, each upper limb, the chest, the abdomen, the upper back, the lower back and buttocks, the front of each lower limb, and the back of each lower limb. This makes up 99 percent of the human body. The remaining one percent is the genital area. With an infant or small child, more emphasis is placed on the head and trunk.
  • Age of the patient - This is important because small children and senior citizens usually have more severe reactions to burns and different healing processes.
  • Pre-existing physical or mental conditions - Patients with respiratory illnesses, heart disorders, diabetes or kidney disease are in greater jeopardy than normally healthy people.

Burn Prevention Tips in the Home


  • Keep hot items in the centre of the table and hot liquids and drinks away from children
  • Keep young children away from the cooking area
  • Use place mats instead of tablecloths - young children use tablecloths to pull themselves up
  • Roll up electrical cords and unplug appliances when not in use
  • Use pot holders, not towels
  • Turn pot handles, inward, toward the back of the stove; use back elements of stove for cooking
  • Store pot holders, paper towels and seasonings away from the stove top
  • Avoid full or puffy sleeves while cooking
  • Keep food away from the stove so no one will be tempted to reach across hot stove elements
  • Use a large lid or baking soda to put out small grease fires in pans
  • Do not store candy or toys above the stove

Living/Family Room

  • Do not use extension cords in place of permanent wires
  • Cover unused electrical outlets with safety plugs
  • Use fireplace matches to light a fireplace
  • Keep matches and lighters away from children
  • Soak cigarettes in water before placing in garbage to ensure they are fully extinguished


  • Run hot and cold water together
  • Set the hot water heater thermostat to low 120F / 50C
  • Never leave children alone in the bathroom
  • Use a ’no slip’ plastic mat in the bathtub to prevent falls
  • Did You Know?
  • Children under 5 years old suffer the highest number of scald burns
  • Some fabrics burn faster and hotter. Cotton burns readily and produces great heat, while wool is difficult to ignite and burns with a smaller flame
  • Children aged 5 to 9 years suffer clothing burns most frequently
  • Ventilation is required when painting or varnishing. Vapours accumulate and ignite easily. Make sure nearby pilot lights in stoves and furnaces are off
  • The most common scald burns from microwaves occur when plastic wraps/lids are removed from heated items
  • Most reported infant burn injuries from a microwave involve mouth burns from heated bottles
  • Using butter to relieve a burn is a myth. Lotion, ointments or oil dressings keep heat in. Use cool water to let heat out
  • Using a liniment and heating pad together increases the risk of burn
  • Adult males often receive burns when flammable liquids are used improperly
  • Adult females are often burned removing a burning container of grease from the stove
  • Grease fires should be smothered with a lid or cookie sheet
  • In 1987, the Federal Government passed legislation concerning flame retardant sleepwear for sizes 1 to 12x - look for the protective label
  • More than 50% of burn injuries are preventable
  • Most burn injuries occur in the kitchen
  • The peak times for burn injury incidents occur at noon, 6 to 7pm and 11pm to 1am
    First Aid

If your clothing catches fire:

  • STOP – do not run
  • DROP – to the ground
  • ROLL – to put the fire out

If a burn occurs COOL immediately and pour cool water (not ice) on the burn. Cover the burn with a clean sheet and seek medical attention.

Never apply ointment, grease or butter to the burned area. Applying such products, actually confine the heat of the burn to the skin and do not allow the damaged area to cool. In essence, the skin continues to "simmer." After the initial trauma of the burn and after it has had sufficient time to cool, it would then be appropriate to put an ointment on the burn. Ointments help prevent infection.

In the event of any serious burns, call 9-1-1.

Safety and Fire Prevention - Fireworks Safety

The safest way to enjoy fireworks while celebrating Canada Day is to attend the public display held at Lakeview Park.

If you are planning to mark Canada Day this year with your own family fireworks show, here is some information from Oshawa Fire Services to help keep your celebration a safe one.

When are fireworks legal in Oshawa?

  • Fireworks can only be sold twice a year - on Victoria Day and Canada Day, and the six days preceding these two statutory holidays - in licensed retail stores and mobile trailers.
  • Fireworks can only be sold to individuals 18 years and older.
  • Family fireworks can only be set off on private property.
  • A permit is required for any pyrotechnics display but is not required for personal backyard fireworks.

When planning a backyard fireworks display, follow these safety guidelines:

  • Purchase your fireworks from a reliable source.
  • Always read and follow the label directions.
  • Check the wind. Place fireworks in a bucket of sand and incline fireworks to go away from spectators (postpone fireworks if wind is strong).
  • Keep fireworks in a closed box. Remove them one at a time and close the lid.
  • Keep everyone at least 25ft away from the fireworks firing line.
  • Keep all pets safely indoors.
  • Persons using fireworks must be at least 18 years old.
  • Use outdoors only.
  • Always have water handy (a garden hose or bucket).
  • Never set off fireworks during an open air burning ban.
  • Never experiment or make your own fireworks.
  • Never take fireworks apart or modify them in any way
  • Light only one firework at a time. Wear eye protection and gloves while lighting fireworks.
  • Light fireworks at arms length, then immediately stand back.
  • Never lean over fireworks or attempt to pick up a "dud" for at least 30 minutes (Never re-light a "dud" firework).
  • Never give fireworks to small children.
  • Dispose of fireworks properly by soaking them in water and then disposing of them in your trashcan.
  • Always put discarded sparklers into a bucket of water.
  • Never throw or point fireworks at other people.
  • Never carry fireworks in your pocket.
  • Never hold a lit firework in your hand.
  • Never shoot fireworks in metal or glass containers.
  • Stay away from illegal explosives. "Firecrackers" are unsafe and illegal.

In case of fire or an emergency, call 9-1-1.

Safety and Fire Prevention - Smoke Alarms

What you need to know

Most fatal fires happen at night when people are sleeping. A working smoke alarm will detect smoke and sound to alert you.

Protect you home with a smoke alarm

The Ontario Fire Code requires every home to have a working smoke alarm.

Choose the best alarm

There are many different types of smoke alarms to choose from. Smoke alarms can be electrically connected, battery-operated or both.

Install more than one

Install smoke alarms on every level of your home and near each sleeping area. Remember to replace alarms that are more than 10 years old. Smoke alarms don't last forever.

Where to install smoke alarms

Because smoke rises, it is recommended that you place the alarms on the ceiling. Avoid ceilings near bathrooms, heating appliances, windows and ceiling fans.

Test your alarm

Test your smoke alarms monthly by pressing the test button. You can also test your alarms by using smoke from a smoldering cotton string.

Replace batteries regularly

Install a new battery in each alarm once a year. When warning beeps sound, replace your battery immediately. Never wait. Change your batteries when you change your clocks' in the Spring and Fall.

Maintain alarms

Prevent dust from clogging your smoke alarms by gently vacuuming them with a soft brush every six months. Never vacuum electrically connected alarms unless you shut off the power. Test each unit when finished.

Prepare and practice

Draw a floor plan showing how you and your family would escape a fire in your home. Look for two ways out of each room and have a pre-arranged meeting place outside. Regularly practice with every member of your home. After everyone is outside, call 9-1-1 from a safe location.

When installing, testing, and maintaining smoke alarms, make sure you follow the manufacturer's instructions.

In case of fire or an emergency, call 9-1-1.

Safety and Fire Prevention - The Arson Prevention Program for Children (TAPP-C)

TAPP-C - The Arson Prevention Program for Children

About 50% of all arson fires are started by children. Most of these children are motivated by curiosity and their fascination with fire’ and for others, fire play or fire setting can be a symptom of other problems and can lead to tragic consequences. Children can start fire setting at any age and it is often a progressive behaviour. This means that without help and fire education, fire play can quickly progress into fire setting which could threaten the safety of the child and others.

The Arson Prevention Program for Children (TAPP-C) helps families deal with children who may be involved in fire play or fire setting. The aim of the TAPP-C Program is to reduce fire involvement and to promote fire safety among children and youths aged 2 to 17 years.

TAPP-C is effective because it combines fire safety education with an assessment, which provides a more comprehensive approach to the problem of fire setting. The TAPP-C Program brings together the Oshawa Fire Services and counselling professionals to educate young fire setters and their families about safety, to conduct an assessment regarding the risk of continued fire setting, and to help them deal with the problems they may be facing.

Referrals to the TAPP-C Program are accepted from parents and community service providers.

The Assessment

When a referral to the TAPP-C Program is made, the counsellor will contact the child and his/her parents to arrange for individual interviews. A risk assessment is done and recommendations for risk reduction are made.

An assessment through a counselling agency is intended to determine why a child is involved in fire setting and whether treatment is required. The TAPP-C assessment evaluates a child’s or youth’s risk of further fire setting and the risk of future injury or fatality. Once assessed, children and their families may be referred for appropriate counselling.

All personal information gathered during this program is securely maintained and cannot be disclosed to anyone without signed consent.

Oshawa Fire Services

Oshawa Fire Services provides professional fire safety education training for both the parents and the child/youth. The fire safety educational component of the TAPP-C Program focuses on certain fire safety behaviours that include such things as reducing hazards in the home and understanding the power of fire.

To start the program a Fire Safety Educator will visit the home. The Educator will work with the child and family to complete a fire safety audit of the home. Once completed, recommendations are made to make the home as fire safe as possible. Also, a fire safety plan is developed so that the family will know what to do should a fire start.

Following the home visit, there are usually two 1 hour sessions of instruction held in the local Fire Station and are arranged to suit the family’s timetable.

Once the child/youth has completed all the sessions, he or she is presented with a certificate. They are also required to sign a contract with Oshawa Fire Services stating that they will not be involved with fire play again. The child and family can contact the Educator at any time after he or she has graduated and they are often encourage to come by the Fire Hall for a visit.

Warning Signs

  • Your child likes to play with matches and lighters and uses them like toys.
  • You have concerns about your child’s behaviour and as well their fascination with fire.
  • You have found burned items/toys in or around your house and garage, or on you child’s body.
  • Fire materials, such as lighters or gas, are easily accessible or go missing.
  • You have caught your child playing with fire or fire materials.

Safety Tips

  • Install and maintain smoke alarms and practice a Home Fire Escape Plan.
  • Safely store all fire materials and flammable items outside.
  • Teach your child that matches and lighters are tools to be used by adults or with adult supervision.

In case of fire or an emergency, call 9-1-1.

Safety and Fire Prevention - Match and Lighter Safety

Every year, hundreds of children die in home fires started by children who were using or playing with matches or lighters. The widespread availability of lighters and matches pose serious fire risks. The number of child-set fires involving matches and lighters confirms the need for adults to be more vigilant about concealing lighters and matches from children and teach children the dangers of fire play. Lighters or matches are the ignition source in more that 50 percent of all child-set fires where the heat source was known.

Children as young as two years old have started fires with matches and lighters. If you live with children, treat matches and lighters as you would treat a power tool or a dangerous weapon: store them out of children?s reach, preferably in a locked cabinet.

Teach children at a very young age that if they see matches or lighters they should not touch them, but tell a grown-up where they are. Older school-age children should be taught to bring matches or lighters to an adult to keep them from younger children. As children grow more mature, they can learn how to use matches and lighters safely, but only under adult supervision.

Match and lighter fires are two types of fires that ordinary citizens can prevent through caution, preparation and education. Fire safety education for children and adults and safe storage and use of matches and lighters may reduce the numbers of fires from lighter or matches as well as the overall incidence of such fires.

Children can easily identify and understand the dangers of some tool in the home. A match is also a tool. Teach them that using a match to light a barbecue, start a fire in the fireplace, or ignite a pilot light are examples of proper ways for adults to use a match.

Many novelty lighters are designed to look like toys, and the shape of BBQ lighters makes them easy for children to handle. Describe the dangers of these lighters to your child.

Keep your children safe

  • Store matches and lighters out of children?s reach.
  • If you smoke, have one lighter and keep it on you at all times.
  • Teach children that matches and lighters are tool for adults, not toys.
  • Ensure smoke alarms and installed and maintained on every level of your home.
  • If you suspect your child is setting fires, get help immediately. Contact Oshawa Fire

Services to learn about the TAPP-C program for children identified as misusing fire.


Safety and Fire Prevention - Fire Extinguisher Safety

Use an extinguisher only if:

  • The fire is small, confined, and not spreading.
  • Everyone else has left or is leaving the building.
  • The fire department has been called.
  • You can fight the fire with your back to a safe escape route.
  • The extinguisher matches the type of fire.
  • You know how to operate the extinguisher.
  • Do not fight fire under any other circumstance. Leave the building immediately, close the door behind you and call 9-1-1.

    Types of Extinguishers

There are three common classes of fire extinguishers available for home fire use. Fire extinguishers must be labelled to show the class of fire they can extinguish. Your extinguisher must match the type of that could occur. For general household use, we recommend a multi-purpose ABC type extinguisher.

  • Class A: Ordinary combustibles including paper, wood, drapes and upholstery.
  • Class B: Flammable liquids such as gasoline, oils, solvents, paints and flammable gases.
  • Class C: Electrical fires involving energized electrical material such as power tools, appliances TV's and electrical motors.

Fire extinguishers also have a number rating. These standards are based on measured in imperial units. For type A fires, a 1 would stand for 1 1/4 gallons of water, a 2 would represent 2 1/2 gallons, 3 would be 3 3/4 gallons of water etc. For type B and type C fire, the number represents square feet. For example 2 would be two square feet, 5 is fire square feet, etc.

Using a fire extinguisher

There is a simple acronym to remember to operate most fire extinguishers, the acronym is PASS. P-A-S-S stands for Pull, Aim, Squeeze and Sweep.

  1. PULL out the locking pin, breaking the seal. Some extinguishers may use a different release device. Please refer to your operator's manual.
  2. AIM the nozzle horn (or hose) at the base of the fire about 3 metres (10 feet) from the fire.
  3. SQUEEZE the trigger handle all the way, releasing the extinguishing agent.
  4. SWEEP the material discharged by the extinguisher from side to side, moving front to back, across the base of the fire until it appears to be out. Keep your eyes on fire area. Repeat the process if the fire starts up again. Never turn your back on a fire even if you think it is out.


Portable fire extinguishers have limited applications against small fires. When used properly, an extinguisher can save lives and property by putting out a small fire or containing it until firefighters arrive. Fire extinguishers do not replace the need to call Oshawa Fire Services. Always call 9-1-1 first when a fire occurs, no matter how small.

Fire extinguishers are not designed for use on large or spreading fires. Even on small fires, they are effective only under the following conditions:

  • The extinguisher must be rated for the type of fire being extinguished.
  • The extinguisher must be large enough for the fire at hand.
  • The extinguisher must be in good working order, fully charged and within easy reach.
  • The operator must be trained in the proper use of the extinguisher.
  • The operator must be physically capable of lifting, handling and operating the extinguisher.

    Take care of your extinguishers

Extinguishers require regular care. Learn how to inspect your extinguisher by reading your operator's manual. Follow the manufacturer's maintenance instructions. Remember to recharge reusable extinguishers and replace disposable models after every use.

Where should I install my extinguishers?

Install your extinguishers in plain view, above the reach of children, near an exit route, and away from stoves and heating appliances. Ideal locations for your extinguishers are in the kitchen, workshop, upstairs and at the top of a basement stairwell.

In case of fire or an emergency, call 9-1-1.

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