Fire Safety Tips

The Fire Department strives to prevent/reduce fires from occurring through a number of public fire and life safety education programs delivered by our Public Education Division. Educating the public about how to survive a fire and prevent fires from starting in the first place are important responsibilities.

Planning and preparation are key to being fire safe. Here are some helpful tips.

Fire can spread rapidly through your home, leaving you as little as 3 minutes to escape. 

  • Make a home escape plan and discuss the plan with everyone in your home.
  • Know at least two ways out of every room, if possible.
  • Have an outside meeting place a safe distance from your home.
  • Practice your plan twice a year.
  • The most important thing to remember is GET OUT and STAY OUT, never go back inside.

Learn more about home escape plans 

It’s a fact, smoke alarms save lives.

  • Install smoke alarms outside each sleeping area, on every level of the home, including the basement, and inside every bedroom.
  • For best protection, interconnect all smoke alarms so when one sounds they all sound
  • The functionality of smoke alarms deteriorates with time.
  • The law requires smoke alarms be installed and landlords are required to ensure their rental properties comply with the law.
  • Smoke alarms should be tested once a month and the batteries should be changed every daylight savings.
  • Smoke alarms should be replaced according to manufacturers’ suggestions or every 10 years, whichever comes first.

Learn more about smoke alarms

Install Carbon Monoxide (CO) alarms on every level of your home and outside each sleeping area.

  • Ensure fuel-burning appliances, chimneys, and vents are properly maintained, as well as cleaned and inspected annually. Visit technicalsafetybc.ca to find a licensed contractor near you.
  • Never run a vehicle or other fueled engine or motor inside a garage, even if the garage doors are open. Always remove a vehicle from the garage immediately after starting it.
  • Exposure to CO can cause flu-like symptoms such as headaches, nausea, dizziness, as well as confusion, drowsiness, loss of consciousness, and death.
  • If your CO alarm sounds and you or other occupants are suffering from symptoms of CO poisoning, get everyone out of the home immediately, then call 9-1-1 from outside.
  • Know the sound of your CO alarms and test them monthly.

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It is always better to fight a fire through prevention and early detection. However, with training and education, adults can use portable fire extinguishers to extinguish small, contained fires such as a cooking pan, garbage can, or campfire.

  • Before trying to put out or contain a fire, be sure that:
    • you know how to use the fire extinguisher and it is the correct type
    • everyone else is leaving the home and someone is calling 9-1-1
    • the fire is small, confined, and not spreading
    • you have a clear escape route and will not be overcome by smoke
  • For the home, it is recommended to have a 5-pound ABC portable extinguisher
  • Check your fire extinguisher at least twice a year to make sure it is holding its pressure by checking the pressure gauge
  • Make sure the powder inside the extinguisher is moving by banging the bottom of the extinguisher with your hand or a rubber mallet

Learn more about portable fire extinguishers.

In homes with natural gas, it works to heat your bath, power your furnace, and help you cook. Here are some helpful tips about natural gas in your home:

  • Only buy gas appliances certified by trusted testing organizations such as the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) or Underwriters Laboratory (UL).
  • Have a licensed gas contractor install, inspect, and maintain your furnace, hot water tank, appliances, and vents regularly (in most cases annually) to ensure they are in good working condition.
  • Before natural gas is piped to your home, a chemical is added to make it smell like sulphur (or rotten eggs).
  • If you suddenly smell sulphur (or rotten eggs), or hear a hissing sound, leave the area right away and follow these steps:
    • Put out matches, candles, fires, and cigarettes. DO NOT touch light switches or outlets, use the phone, or do anything that could create a spark.
    • Remove everyone from the home. Leave the doors and windows open as you leave.
    • Go to a safe place and use a cell phone or neighbour’s phone to call 9-1-1 and/or Fortis BC 1-800-663-9911 (24 hours).
    • Stay outside until emergency responders say it’s safe to go back into your home.

Learn more about natural gas.

Don’t let non-emergencies compete with real ones. Your situation is important, but 9-1-1 is for emergencies where health, safety, or property is in immediate jeopardy, or a crime is in progress.

If you call 9-1-1 for a non-emergency matter, it will not result in a faster response. Emergency situations are always given priority over situations where a response is not urgent or time sensitive. Help us help keep 9-1-1 lines free for emergencies that require immediate response by looking up your local non-emergency numbers.

Learn more and find your local non-emergency numbers

Home Sprinklers save lives and property and may also reduce homeowner’s insurance premiums. 

  • Fire Departments typically use about 10 times as much water as a fire sprinkler would use to contain a fire.
  • Burnt toast will not activate a fire sprinkler. Only the high temperature of a fire will activate fire sprinklers.
  • They are easy to maintain. Just inspect your home to make sure the sprinklers are not blocked by something that would prevent water from coming out, such as paint, and be sure the main valve is never turned off.

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Balcony fires can be significant, whether your building has sprinklers or not. 

If you are a strata owner or resident, be sure to review your building’s strata bylaws, fire safety plans, and rules and regulations.

Below are some safety tips to help you reduce your chances of a fire on your balcony.

Smoking Materials  

  • Never throw cigarette butts, and other smoking materials, from your balcony.
  • Never discard smoking materials in vegetation such as mulch, potted plants, landscaping, peat moss, dried grasses, leaves, or other things that could ignite easily.
  • Before you throw away smoking materials, make sure they are out by soaking them in water.

Barbecues / Gas Appliances

  • Review your apartment / condominium / townhome or any other residence’s strata bylaws, safety plans, and rules with respect to barbecues on balconies. 
  • Propane, natural gas, and charcoal barbecue grills should only be used outdoors and well away from the building.
  • Keep the grill clean by removing grease or fat build-up from the grills and trays below.
  • Never leave a barbecue unattended.
  • Ensure any appliance is CSA approved. Follow all manufacturer installation and use requirements.

Flammable / Combustible Materials

  • Keep balconies free of flammable and combustible materials and debris, such as gasoline, paint, oil, and garbage. 

There's nothing like outdoor grilling! It's one of the most popular ways to cook food, however, a grill placed too close to anything that can burn is a fire hazard. Grills can also be very hot, causing burn injuries. Follow these simple tips and you will be on your way to safe grilling:

  • Check your gas tank hose for leaks before using it for the first time each year. You can apply a light soap and water solution to the hose. A propane leak will release bubbles.
  • Propane and charcoal grills should only be used outdoors.
  • The grill should be placed well away from the home, deck railing, and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
  • Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the grill area.
  • Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grill and trays below.
  • Always make sure your gas grill lid is open before lighting it.
  • If the flame goes out, turn the grill and gas off and wait at least five minutes before re-lighting it.
  • If you smell gas while cooking, immediately get away from the grill and call 9-1-1. Do not move the grill.

Learn more about grilling safety.

"One dark night, when we were all in bed, Mrs. O'Leary lit a lantern in the shed, And when the cow kicked it over, it winked it's eye and said, There'll be a hot time in the old town tonight!"

This famous song tells of how a cow may have started the Great Fire of Chicago in 1871. The blaze ripped through the city destroying 17,500 buildings and caused just under 200 million in damage! In those days, buildings were not as safe as today's building, so once a fire started it spread quickly.

Could one cow really cause such destruction? Because the Great Fire caused massive damage, fire departments across the U.S. and Canada were recognized to become more like the military. This way they could be more prepared to handle huge fires such as the one in Chicago.

Each community depends on it's own fire department to protect citizens from deadly fires. Until the 1930's the Township of Langley residents had to fight fires in their neighbourhoods on their own. By then, volunteer fire departments were necessary due to the growing Township population. Local men got together to help answer emergency calls in neighbourhoods of Aldergrove, Brookswood, Fort Langley, Murrayville and Northwest Langley.

During the later 1950's and early 1960's, the volunteer fire departments partnered with the Township of Langley to build new fire halls and buy fire trucks with attached water hoses. Today, the Township of Langley has both career and paid on call firefighters to help keep our communities safe.

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