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Fire Safety Tips for a Safe Long Weekend

May 15, 2009

Mississauga Fire and Emergency Services' Fire Prevention Unit encourages residents to keep fire safety in mind this long weekend.

"We want people to think of fire safety when planning their long weekend activities which may include fireworks and going to the cottage." said Fire Chief John McDougall. "What may appear safe can quickly become dangerous if precautions aren't taken."

The following tips from Mississauga's Fire Prevention Unit will help residents stay safe. For more information, contact Mississauga & Fire Emergency Services Fire Prevention office at 905-615-4377.


  • Have a responsible adult in charge of handling and discharging all fireworks. Carefully read and follow all directions on the package.
  • 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.
  • Discharge fireworks only if wind conditions do not create a safety hazard.
  • Keep onlookers a safe distance away, upwind from the area where the fireworks are being 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.
  • Keep sparklers away from children. Sparklers can burn hot and can ignite clothing, cause blindness and result in severe burns. As the sparkler wire remains hot for some time after burnout, 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.

Cottage Safety

  • Install smoke alarms outside all sleeping areas and on every level and test them each time you arrive.
  • Install a carbon monoxide alarm if your cottage has a fuel-burning appliance.
  • Develop and practice a home fire escape plan for the cottage.
  • Know the telephone number for the local fire department and your cottage’s emergency sign number.
  • Clean barbecues before using them. Keep an eye on lit barbecues and ensure children, pets and combustibles are kept well away.
  • Check heating appliances and chimneys before using them.
  • Check with the local fire department, municipality or Ministry of Natural Resources to determine whether open air burning is permitted before having a campfire or burning brush.

Smoke Alarms

  • Install smoke alarms on every level of your home and outside all sleeping areas.
  • Install smoke alarms on the ceiling or as high up on the wall as possible. Avoid installing ones near bathrooms, heating appliances, windows or close to ceiling fans.
  • Test your smoke alarms regularly using the alarm test button.
  • Install a new battery at least once a year. When the clocks change in the spring and fall it is a good time to change your smoke alarm batteries.
  • Gently vacuum the smoke alarm every six months. Dust can clog the smoke alarm, so carefully vacuum the inside of a battery powered unit. For electrically connected units, shut off the power and vacuum the outside vents only. Remember to restore the power and test the unit when you’re finished vacuuming.
  • Smoke alarms more than 10 years old should be replaced.
  • Make sure that everyone knows the sound of the smoke alarm and what to do if a fire occurs

Candle Caution

  • Use flashlights whenever possible. If you must use candles, take extreme care. Candles should be placed in secure candleholders, protected by a glass chimney.
  • Keep candles away from combustible materials such as curtains or drapes.
  • Place candles out of reach of children or pets.
  • Extinguish all candles when you leave the room or go to bed.
  • Avoid using candles in bedrooms and never leave candles unattended

Matches and Lighters

  • Keep all matches and lighters out of sight and reach of children, preferably in locked cabinet.

Plan Your Escape

  • Ensure everyone in your home knows what to do in case of fire. Make a family fire plan to determine who is going to look after children or older adults and where everyone is to meet outside the home.

It is helpful to have a phone in the home that would work during a power failure.

Mississauga is Canada's sixth largest city with a population of more than 700,000. With well-established infrastructure and state of the art facilities, the City is considered to be an employer of choice, delivering quality municipal programs and services to its citizens. Mississauga is a dynamic, diverse, and progressive municipality, known for its economic strength and for being Canada's safest city.


Media Contact:
Laurel Schut
Manager, Corporate Communications (A)
Phone: 905-615-3200 x5832
TTY:    905-896-5151