Corp Comm Connects

How to stay safe while keeping warm this autumn
Oct. 25, 2021
Chief Andrew Zvanitajs

Fall is here, and the weather is changing. The cool mornings and crisp nights have many of us turning on the furnace or reaching for a portable heater.

But did you know heating equipment is a leading cause of home fires in Ontario? Here’s how to help keep your family warm and safe as the weather gets cold.

Ensure your furnace is in good working order by having it inspected every year by a qualified professional. Make sure you follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for replacing the filter.

If you ever see any rust spots on or around the unit or hear any unusual noises, have an expert take a look.

Keep anything that can burn at least three feet (one metre) away from a furnace, fireplace, wood stove or portable heater. Items like curtains, furniture, paper and clothing can easily catch on fire and should be kept well away from heating sources.

Never use an oven, barbecue or candles to heat your home, and only operate an electric heater inside your home. Fuel-burning space heaters are for outdoor use -- if used inside, they could release carbon monoxide (CO) or other poisonous gases.

If you ever smell gas in your home, leave immediately and call 911.

Electric space heaters can be an easy way to add some extra warmth to a room. But they should not be used as a primary source of heat for your whole home.

These devices come with some fire risks. To stay safe, plug the heater directly into the wall rather than into an extension cord, and remember to turn off and unplug space heaters when you leave the room or go to bed.

Put portable heaters on a hard, level surface that is non-flammable, such as concrete or ceramic flooring, and far away from water. Also, do not place heaters in doorways or the middle of the room as they could become a tripping hazard.

If you’re buying a space heater, pick one that will automatically shut off if it falls over or if the temperature gets too hot. It’s also essential to look for a safety certification from an organization like the Canadian Standards Association.

By taking a few precautions, like putting space heaters in a safe place and keeping the area clear around heating devices, you can help prevent most heating fires from happening.

As always, install smoke and CO alarms, and test them at least once a month. To learn more about fire safety, visit

To learn more about fire safety, visit