Public Safety Information


9% of annual loss fires occur in December

Average of 42 injuries

Average of 10 fatalities

Top ignition sources:

  • Cooking
  • Heating equipment
  • Electrical distribution equipment

Potential Risks:

  • Cooking
  • Smoking
  • Holiday lighting
  • Candles
  • Winter storms
  • Power outages

Smoking is the #1 cause of fire deaths in Ontario

(Ontario fire losses, Office of the Fire Marshal & Emergency Management)



Cottage Fire Safety – Tip Sheet

To minimize the risk of fire and burn injury, the fire service recommends the following cottage fire safety tips:

Install smoke alarms on every storey and outside all sleeping areas. It’s the law for all Ontario homes, cottages, cabins and seasonal homes to have working smoke alarms on every storey and outside all sleeping areas.

  • Test smoke alarms at least monthly or each time you return to the cottage. Pack a new smoke alarm and extra smoke alarm batteries in case they need replacement.
  • Install and ensure carbon monoxide alarms in your cottage if it has a fuel-burning appliance.
  • Develop and practice a home fire escape plan to ensure everyone knows what to do if the smoke alarm sounds.
  • Know the telephone number for the local fire department and your cottage’s emergency sign number, in case of emergency.
  • Clean barbecues before using them. Keep an eye on lit barbecues and ensure all combustibles, as well as children and pets are kept well away from them. Fires can happen when barbecues are left unattended.
  • Keep barbecue lighters and matches out of sight and reach of children.
  • Remember to bring a flashlight with extra batteries.
  • Check heating appliances and chimneys before using them.
  • Check with your local fire department, municipality, or Ministry of Natural Resources to determine whether open air burning is permitted before having a campfire or burning brush. If open burning is allowed, fires should be built on bare soil or on exposed rock. Remove leaves and twigs from around the fire to keep it from spreading. Always keep a bucket of water, sand, or even a shovel close by and supervise the fire at all times.
  • If you must smoke, do so outside. Keep a large can with water nearby so cigarette butts can be safely discarded. If you drink, do so responsibly. Tobacco use and excessive alcohol consumption are contributing factors in many fires and can lead to serious injuries.
  • Burn candles in sturdy candleholders that will not tip and are covered with a glass shade. When you go out, blow out!

CO Alarms Now Mandatory in All Homes

Ontario is taking another step to keep families and homes in Ontario safe by making carbon monoxide alarms mandatory in all residential homes. 

The new regulation, which comes into effect October 15, updates Ontario's Fire Code following the passage of Bill 77 last year. These updates are based on recommendations from a Technical Advisory Committee which was led by the Office of the Fire Marshall and Emergency Management and included experts from fire services, the hotel and rental housing industries, condo owners and alarm manufacturers.

Carbon monoxide detectors will now be required near all sleeping areas in residential homes and in the service rooms, and adjacent sleeping areas in multi-residential units. Carbon monoxide alarms can be hardwired, battery-operated or plugged into the wall.


  • More than 50 people die each year from carbon monoxide poisoning in Canada, including 11 on average in Ontario.
  • Bill 77, an Act to Proclaim Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week and to amend the Fire Protection and Prevention Act, 1997, received royal assent in December 2013.
  • The first Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week will take place November 1-8, 2014.

The Ontario Building Code requires the installation of carbon monoxide alarms in homes and other residential buildings built after 2001.

'Ontario's New CO Alarm Law: A Call to Action for Homeowners.'

This heartfelt video developed by the Hawkins-Gignac Foundation of CO Education together with the Fire Marshal's Public Fire Safety Council, is designed to convey key information to the public and to evoke action.  Three minutes in length, the video leads off with the moving Hawkins-Gignac Foundation TV PSA, followed by 'up close and personal' comments by Lee Grant, Vice-Chair of the Fire Marshal's Public Fire Safety Council, John Gignac, Co-Chair of the Hawkins-Gignac Foundation for CO Education, and Oxford MPP, Ernie Hardeman who originated the bill.