FireSmart™ Canada is a program of the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre. CIFFC became the owner of the FireSmart Canada brand in 2021.
The history of FireSmart Canada goes back to 1990 when a committee was established to address common concerns about wildfire in the wildland urban interface, where wildlands and human development come together.
The initiative originated with the Alberta Forest Service (now Alberta Agriculture and Forestry). Original committee members were Alberta Forest Service, Alberta Public Safety Services, Canada Parks Service, Canadian Forest Service, Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties, Alberta Urban Municipalities Association, Alberta Planners Association and the Alberta Fire Chiefs Association.
These agencies created Partners in Protection Association (PiP), which was incorporated in Alberta on Feb. 8, 1993. Partners in Protection grew the FireSmart™ brand into FireSmart Canada.
The mandate of Partners in Protection was to facilitate interagency co-operation in the promotion of awareness and education aimed at reducing risk of loss of life and property from fire in the wildland urban interface.
Outdoor fire rules you need to follow in a Restricted Fire Zone —
a specific area where outdoor fires are not permitted in Ontario.
Fire is dark. Most people expect fire to be light. On the contrary, fire is pitch black. In most cases smoke kills first, not flames. The poisonous gases emitted by a fire can actually put you into a deep sleep before you are overcome by flames. Installing a smoke alarm on each level of your home can give you the early warning you need to escape safely!
Fire has intense heat! Fire raises the temperature several hundred degrees in just seconds. One breath can cause severe lung damage. Develop and practice a fire escape plan, complete with a meeting place outside. An escape plan can help you escape safely – when seconds count!
Fire is fast! In less than 30 seconds, a small flame can get completely out of control and turn into a major fire. It takes only minutes for thick black smoke to fill a house.
Fire is hot! A fire’s heat alone can kill. Room temperatures in a fire can be 100-degrees at floor level and rise to 600-degrees at eye level. Inhaling this super hot air will scorch your lungs.
Fire is dark! Fire starts bright but quickly produces smoke and complete darkness. If you wake up to a fire, you may be blinded, disoriented and unable to find your way around the home you’ve lived in for years.
Fire is deadly! Smoke and toxic gases kill more people than flames do. Fire uses up the oxygen you need, and produces smoke and poisonous gases that kill.
A residential home can be totally consumed in flames in less than five minutes!
There is no time – you need to know what to do.
Consumer – “Family” style fireworks
This class includes the following types of fireworks: Roman candles, fountains, pin wheels, sparklers, firework showers, golden rain, lawn lights, volcanoes, Christmas crackers, and cones.
Fireworks can be extremely dangerous and each year, a number of preventable injuries occur from their improper use and handling.
The Rama Fire Rescue Service provides the following guidelines for the safe display of consumer – “family” style fireworks :
- Fireworks are to be set off by adults only.
- No person shall set off fireworks on land they do not own, without obtaining prior written permission of the owner to do so.
- A person who stores fireworks shall ensure those fireworks are not accessible to children.
- Fireworks should not be stored, handled or set off in an unsafe manner, or in a manner that creates a nuisance, taking into account the noise, danger from fire and explosion, and risk of death, injury and damage to property.
During the display:
- Appoint a responsible person to be in charge. Only adults who are aware of the hazards and essential safety precautions should handle and discharge fireworks.
- Carefully read and follow the label directions on fireworks packaging.
- Always keep a water hose or pail of water close by when discharging fireworks.
- Discharge fireworks well away from combustible materials like buildings, trees and dry grass.
- Keep onlookers a safe distance away, upwind from the area where fireworks are discharged.
- Light only one firework at a time and only when they are on the ground. Never try to light a firework in your hand or re-light dud fireworks. For dud fireworks, it is best to wait 30 minutes and soak them in a bucket of water. Dispose of them in a metal container.
- Discharge fireworks only if wind conditions do not create a safety hazard.
- Keep sparklers away from young children. Sparklers burn extremely hot and can ignite clothing, cause blindness and result in severe burns. As the sparkler wire remains hot for some minutes after burning, it should be immediately soaked in water to avoid injury.
- If someone gets burned, run cool water over the wound for three to five minutes and seek medical attention, if necessary.
After the display the area should be thoroughly searched, using flashlights, for any fireworks which may have been overlooked, which may have misfired or components which may have failed to explode and fallen to the ground. All debris, stakes, frames and packages should be cleaned up and disposed of.
Injuries are the #1 health risk for children under age 14. We can all reduce that risk by learning to recognize dangers and taking simple steps to protect ourselves and our families.
Time for Risk Watch
Risk Watch is a comprehensive school-based injury prevention curriculum for children, aged 4 to 14. Risk Watch targets eight major risk areas that kill or injure the most children in North America each year:
- Motor Vehicle Safety
- Fire and Burn Prevention
- Choking, Suffocation, and Strangulation Prevention
- Poisoning Prevention
- Falls Prevention
- Bike and Pedestrian Safety
- Water Safety
- Firearms Injury Prevention
Alarm for Life
Fire statistics show that having a working smoke alarm in the home will increase the chances of surviving a fire. Most fatal fires occur in the home while occupants are asleep. Fire deaths and injuries could be reduced significantly if every home had working smoke alarms and a home fire escape plan.
An effective smoke alarm program will help fire department staff protect residents from fire. Implementing a smoke alarm program will help:
- Ensure that owners have properly installed working smoke alarms in all residential occupancies
- Reduce fire deaths, injuries and property losses
- Educate residents about the importance of installing and maintaining smoke alarms
- Assist residents to develop and practice an effective home fire escape plan
- Assists the municipality in meeting its legislative requirements under the FPPA
- Create positive public relations between the community and the fire department
Fire Safety for Older Adults
When it comes to fire safety, older adults need our help more than any other group. Statistics show us that adults over the age of 65 are at the greatest risk of dying in a fire. Although most older adults continue to live independent, productive lives, the natural aging process can make them particularly vulnerable to fire. Common fire risks for older adults include careless smoking, careless cooking and improper placement of space heaters.
“Older and Wiser“ is designed to assist the fire service, community groups, home support workers, families, friends and the media in educating older adults about fire safety.
The mission statement of the ‘Older & Wiser’ Program is to promote the significant roles that seniors play in our society and to recognize the contributions that seniors make to our Province.
The primary objective is to enhance older persons in five key areas of concern:
- Independence: Give support to enable seniors to remain at home as long as possible.
- Participation: Allow seniors to maintain an active role in decision making and communication within the community.
- Care: To ensure that seniors receive enhanced personal care, whether it be at home or a treatment facility.
- Self-fulfillment: To allow seniors the opportunity to learn and grow in all areas.
- Dignity: To ensure that seniors receive the utmost respect and dignity that they deserve.
The senior population that created this wonderful country to live in now needs our support. Many of our senior members now live alone as their partners have passed on to their final resting place and our families have become nomadic due to career demands.
The senior population has a wealth of knowledge to guide us into the next century and, in order to ensure that our children have at least the same opportunities that we have had, we must learn from their wisdom.
What is TAPP-C?
‘The Arson Prevention Program for Children‘ is a program for youth who have played with fire or set fires, including such things as playing with matches or lighters, burning paper or garbage, performing lighter tricks, intentionally setting fire to buildings, or making bombs. Fire play and setting are dangerous behaviours that not only put the child involved at risk, but also the family and surrounding community. TAPP-C is a community-based program that brings together fire service and children’s mental health professionals in a collaborative effort to address this costly and sometimes deadly behaviour.
How does TAPP-C work?
Referral to the TAPP-C program may come from various agencies. A child may be referred by a teacher, a parent, a mental health professional or through the legal system. If a child or youth is identified to be exhibiting fire starting behaviour, the Fire Prevention Division is contacted, and a Fire and Life Safety Educator will attend the home. A home safety inspection will be performed to ensure that working smoke alarms are in place, that fire starting materials are not readily available and that a home escape plan is in place. The Educator will involve the child in a course of fire safety education and if required, may refer the child on to children mental health services for further assessment.
Why do Children Start Fires?
- When a child is upset about upheaval in their life, such as a family break up or death of a loved one
- There is abuse in the household
- The child is bullied at school
- Chronic failure, often caused by a learning disability, is displayed
- The child needs to assert power, while feeling powerless about something beyond their control
- Natural curiosity mixed with lack of supervision and availability of fire starting materials
What is Fire play?
- Playing with matches, lighters and/or fire
- Playing with electrical appliances such as the toaster or stove
- Burning items such as paper or garbage
- Setting a fire to destroy something or hurt someone
- Matches or lighters are missing
- Matches or lighters are found among your child’s belongings
- There are burn marks on household items or on your child’s clothing or possessions
- You child is extremely interested in fire
- Someone else has complained about your child’s fire involvement
- Children will mimic your actions, so use caution when working with fire
- Teach children that fire can be dangerous, to themselves and others
- Get rid of all but necessary lighter/matches
- Lock up all necessary lighters/matches
- Increase monitoring/supervision to prevent access to fire materials
- Look for burn marks or burned objects around the house
- Look for burn marks on clothing, or burns on fingers
- Look for matches/lighters in child’s room, play space, backyard
- Install and test fire alarms
- Create and practice a home fire escape plan
Help is Available
Fire involvement in any form has to be taken seriously and addressed immediately, since it may start small but can quickly and easily progress to large and serious fires that threaten the safety of the child and the family. Overall, the two most important factors in youth fire play and fire starting are access to fire-related materials and opportunity to use them when adults are not present. The easiest way a parent can prevent inappropriate fire involvement is to eliminate their youth access to fire related materials, and to remove all opportunity for them to use fire related materials. If you are concerned, or would like to receive more information, please contact Rama’s Fire Prevention Division at 705-325-3611, Extension 1279.
Fire Prevention Week
The history of Fire Prevention Week has its roots in the Great Chicago Fire, which occurred on October 9, 1871. This tragic conflagration killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,400 structures and burned more than 2,000 acres in 27 hours.
While the origin of the fire has never been determined, there has been much speculation over how it began. One popular legend, which was recently refuted by a Chicago historian, is that Mrs. Catherine O’Leary was milking her cow when the animal kicked over a lamp, setting the O’Leary barn on fire and starting the spectacular blaze.
On the Great Chicago Fire’s 40th anniversary, the Fire Marshals Association of North America (FMANA) sponsored the first National Fire Prevention Day, advocating an annual observation as a way to keep the public informed about the importance of fire prevention.
Every year, Fire Departments across Ontario Hold “Fire Prevention Week” during the first week in October. During this week, Ontario Fire Departments host an open house welcoming their community to visit and enjoy an informative learning opportunity for children and adults. In addition, October is recognized as “Fire Prevention Month”. Although we promote fire and life safety year-round, October is targeted as the time frame to extend our efforts to stress major safety tips to the surrounding community. Each year there is a different theme of what the focus is to be across the province. For instance, the theme for 2020 was ‘Serve up fire safety in the kitchen.’