Residents urged to keep fire safety in mind during pandemic

Sarnia Fire Truck on London Line. April 26, 2019. (Photo by Colin Gowdy, BlackburnNews)

There’s been a spike in fire fatalities across Ontario, with a higher number of residents at home during the pandemic.

Since January 1, the number of fire-related deaths increased by 65 per cent to 51 compared to 31 during the same time last year.

March was an especially bad month with 17 deaths.

“Always remember to look when you cook, unattended cooking is the number one cause of house fires,” said Sarnia Fire Pubic Information Officer Mike Otis. “Always have working smoke alarms on every level of your home and outside bedrooms, and inside is preferable. Have a home escape plan including two ways out of every room if possible and a safe meeting place outside to call 911.”

Other precautions include blowing out candles when you leave the room, avoiding overloading electrical outlets, smoking outside and properly extinguishing cigarettes.

Residents are told to avoid sterilizing or decontaminating face masks for re-use by heating them in a microwave oven.

Various fabric or metal components can overheat or create sparks and cause a fire if heated in a microwave.

There have been a few fires in Sarnia in 2020 but no fatalities.