Fire prevention starts with you! 

Fire safety and prevention is the key to a safe community. Our team is here to help - click here to email our fire prevention staff. You can also report unsafe facilities, or facilities in need of inspection, by clicking here. 

Looking for backyard campfire safety? Click here!

Smoke Alarms

Every home in Ontario must have a working smoke alarm on every storey and outside all sleeping areas. Make sure your smoke alarms are kept in good working condition:

  • Test your smoke alarms once a month and replace the batteries every year or whenever the low-battery warning sounds.
  • Vacuum the outside of the smoke alarm once a year using the soft bristle attachment on your vacuum cleaner.
  • Replace smoke alarms that are more than 10 years old.
  • Always follow the manufacturer's instructions for installing, testing, and maintaining smoke alarms.

Failure to comply with the Fire Code smoke alarm requirements could result in a ticket for $235 or a fine of up to $50,000 for individuals or $100,000 for corporations.

Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide is an invisible, odourless gas that can quickly kill you. 

Install a carbon monoxide alarm in your home! If you only install one, locate it near sleeping areas. Any other alarms should be placed in or close to fuel-burning appliances.

Carbon monoxide is produced when fuels like propane, gasoline, natural gas, heating oil, or wood don't have enough air to burn properly. This can happen in furnaces, fireplaces, hot water heaters, or stoves. Carbon monoxide can also be caused by cars left running in attached garages, barbecues operated inside, kerosene heaters that aren't properly vented, or chimneys or vents that are dirty or plugged.

Prevent carbon monoxide build-up by cleaning and inspecting your furnace and chimney every year.

Exposure to carbon monoxide can cause flu-like symptoms:

  • headaches
  • nausea
  • dizziness
  • confusion
  • drowsiness
  • loss of consciousness

Carbon monoxide can kill. If you experience symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning:

  • get outside right away
  • call 911
Home Escape Plan

Develop and practice a home fire escape plan. When the smoke alarm sounds, everyone must know what to do and where to go. Here's how to plan your escape:

  • Everyone should know two ways out of every room, if possible.
  • Check that all exits are unblocked and easy to use.
  • Decide who will be responsible for helping young children, older adults, and anyone else who may need assistance.
  • Choose a meeting place outside, such as a tree or a lamp post, where everyone can be accounted for.
  • If caught in smoke, get low and go under the smoke to the nearest safe exit.
  • Call 911 from outside the home, using a cell phone or the neighbour's phone.
  • Once out, stay out. Never re-enter a burning building.
 Home Safety

Candle Safety

Candles are a common cause of home fires.

  • When you leave the room, blow it out!
  • Buy candles that are smoke-free and drip-free.
  • Put candles in a sturdy holder where they can't be knocked over.
  • Place a glass shade or hurricane chimney over candles.
  • Keep lit candles away from children and pets.
  • Keep candles away from combustible items, like decorations and wreaths.

Barbecue Safety

  • Always follow the manufacturer's instructions for the safe maintenance and use of your barbecue.
  • At the start of barbecue season, clean it! Make sure the burner ports and orifice are free of rust, dirt, dust, and cobwebs.
  • Check cylinder connections and hoses for leaks by brushing a 50/50 mix of liquid soap and water onto all connections and hoses. Rising bubbles when you turn on the valve indicate a leak. Tighten connections or repair the hose until there are no bubbles.
  • When you light the grill, leave it open.
  • When you're transporting a propane cylinder, place it in a secure, upright position with the safety valve on top. It's best to transport it on the floor of the passenger compartment. Make sure the vehicle windows are open.
  • Never use or store a propane barbecue inside or in any enclosed space, including a garage. 

Electrical Safety

  • Check cords for damage like fraying or nicks. A damaged cord can expose wires and result in a shock or fire hazard.
  • Avoid running cords under rugs, which can damage the cord and cause a fire.
  • Extension cords should only be used temporarily. If permanent wiring is required, have more outlets installed by a licensed electrician.
  • Extension cords should not be linked together. Instead, use an extension cord that's long enough to do the job.
  • Air conditioners and other heavy appliances should be plugged directly into an outlet. If that's not possible, use a 14-gauge, three-wire grounding-type appliance extension cord.
  • Avoid overloading a plug with "octopus outlets."
  • All outlets near water should be ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI). This provides split-second electrical protection.
  • When replacing a fuse, make sure it is of the right amperage. Substituting a higher amp fuse where a smaller once is required can pose a fire hazard.
 Smoking Safety

Don't let smoking take your last breath!

Smoking is a leading cause of fires in Cornwall. If you're going to smoke, do so outside.

  • Butt out in a deep ashtray or can.
  • Don't butt out in a garden, plant pot, or in the grass - plant material can burn.
  • Empty ashtrays into a metal container - not the garbage can - and put it outside.
  • Don't smoke in bed.
  • If people have been smoking in your home, check behind chair and sofa cushions for cigarette butts before going to bed.

Smoking is the number one cause of fatal home fires in Ontario. 

Alcohol is a factor in many smoking-related fires.

If you're ready to quit smoking, click here.

Cooking Safety

Cooking incidents are a leading cause of fires in Cornwall.

Click here to visit our Cooking Safety page.

Cottage Safety

Here's a quick fire safety guide for the cottage:

  • Just like your home, your cottage or cabin must have working smoke alarms on every storey and outside sleeping areas. It's the law. Pack a smoke alarm with fresh batteries when heading to a hunt camp or cabin.
  • Let the ashes in your woodstove or fireplace cool before emptying them into a metal container with a tight-fitting lid. Store the container outside.
  • Make sure the roof is clean and there are no overhanging branches. Clear brush and debris from around the building.
  • Have all chimneys cleaned and inspected every year. A qualified service technician should inspect heating systems annually.
  • Make sure the entrance to your property has a clearly visible sign indicating the property number.

 Holiday Safety


  • keep your real Christmas tree well-watered
  • keep combustible items away from your Christmas tree
  • check all your lights for damage before decorating


  • use battery-operated candles in your pumpkin
  • make sure you're visible in your costume!
  • decorations can be flammable - keep them away from flames and heat sources, and don't block exits

Canada Day

 Fire Extinguishers

In most cases, the best thing to do in case of fire is get everyone out and call 911 from outside the home. Only use fire extinguishers on small, contained fires. Never let the fire get between you and the exit!

  • Consider purchasing a fire extinguisher with an ABC rating. This type can be used on most types of fires.
  • Only use a fire extinguisher if you have learned how to do so. Remember the acronym PASS:
    • Pull the pin
    • Aim the nozzle at the base of the fire
    • Squeeze the trigger
    • Sweep the extinguisher from side to side until it is empty
  • Store the extinguisher in plain view, out of the reach of children and away from stoves and heating appliances.
  • Most fire extinguishers empty in less than 30 seconds. If the fire it not out by then, leave the premises immediately and call 911.
  • Many stovetop fires can be safely extinguished without the use of a fire extinguisher. Slide a lid over the pot to smother the flames and turn off the stove.

More Resources:

The following by-laws are related to Cornwall Fire Services:

Cornwall Fire Services Annual Reports:

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