Home Safety Information
Home Insurance Safety Information:
Avoid the unpleasant consequences of sewer backup by reducing the chances of it happening to you.
- Disposing of oil, grease, or fat down a garbage disposal or sink drain can lead to clogged drains.
- Not all floor drains are tied directly into a main backflow prevention valve.
- Not only does sewer back-up cause damage to structure and belongings, it can also pose potential health problems.
- The most effective way to prevent sewer water from entering your home is to install a backflow valve in the main sewer line. Floor drains should also include a backflow prevention device or have a backflow insert installed at the strainer.
- Backflow valves should be cleaned and checked on an annual basis.
- If a seal is broken, tampered with, or missing, your fire extinguisher will not work properly.
- If your fire extinguisher is not inspected regularly, it may not operate effectively when you need it.
- A fire extinguisher is not meant to extinguish large or uncontrolled fires.
- Be certain you have the right extinguisher for the fire you are fighting.
Class A – Ordinary combustible materials, such as wood, paper, and plastic.
Class B – Flammable liquids such as gasoline, oil based paint, and flammable gases.
Class C – Electrical wiring or household appliances.
- A multi-purpose ABC extinguisher is beneficial for general household use.
- Keep your fire extinguisher in plain view away from your stove/heating appliances and near an exit door.
- Learn to use your extinguisher: Remember the acronym PASS.
Pull the pin.
Squeeze the lever.
Sweep from side to side, aiming toward the base of the fire.
Carbon monoxide poisoning is often referred to as the silent killer and can be caused in the home by:
- Running a vehicle, fuelled engine, or a barbeque indoors (even with the garage doors open) can create dangerous carbon monoxide gases.
- Debris/snow build-up around dryer, furnace, stove, and fireplace vents can lead to improper venting and cause dangerous fumes in your home.
- Failing to perform regular maintenance on your heating appliance or chimney can cause dangerous gases.
Follow these tips to stay safe:
- Carbon monoxide detectors should be installed in a central location, outside each sleep area and on every level of your home.
- Keep all outside vents clear at all times.
- If symptoms such as headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, and confusion occur you should go outside or to an open window/door immediately.
Keeping your family, home, and belongings safe is a priority all year long. It only takes a few seconds for an accident to happen, but it'll change your life forever. Seasonal factors can cause significant changes in and around your home. This can result in increased risks and hazards. That's why it is important to adjust your routine to the seasonal and environmental factors. Here are some safety tips to help keep your home and family safe from harm.
Backyard Fireplaces/Fire Pits:
- Fireplaces should be placed on non-combustible pads with ample space in front to contain escaping sparks
- Fireplaces should be located well away from the home and combustibles structures.
- Fire pits installed on patios and other locations should have a minimum clearance of 4 feet (1.2m) from combustibles (including wood decks, side of home, and fencing) with protection past the sides of the unit. It is always prudent to check local by-laws and fire regulations before use.
- Have a water hose or fire extinguisher on hand.
- Never leave a fire unattended.
- Check local by-laws for specific regulations or installation requirements.
Trampolines can be fun if used safely. Children should be supervised when using them and protective netting should be installed to avoid falls.
Access to a swimming pool should be secured to prevent unauthorized/unsupervised entry. A 1.5m (5') fence, gate with a self-locking mechanism, and warning signs are recommended and/or required in some jurisdictions. Municipal by-laws should be consulted for pool safety compliance requirements.
Ensure you have emergency supplies such as a first aid kit, cell phone, water and sun screen. If you are camping in a trailer, make sure you have a carbon monoxide detector installed and in proper working order.
- Ensure that your smoke detector is working properly. A smoke detector without a working battery or an inoperative power supply is the same as not having one at all.
- One smoke detector per home is not sufficient.
- Smoke detectors that are 10 years or older are not as efficient as new detectors.
- Install smoke detectors outside bedrooms and on each floor of your home, including the basement.
- Make sure dust does not collect on smoke detectors and never paint over them.
- Do not use rechargeable batteries as they can fail without warning.
- Check smoke detectors at least once a month.
- Replace smoke detector batteries at least twice a year, for example, when you change your clocks'.
- Replace smoke detectors every 10 years.
- Deep fat frying with a pot of fat on the stove is not a safe practice.
- Never leave your kitchen unattended when cooking.
- Ensure that your kitchen stove and oven are kept clean and clear at all times.
- Use a thermostatically controlled electric deep fat fryer.
- Do not use tin foil or any other metal material/object in a microwave.
- Keep your oven clean from grease and food splatters as they can ignite at high temperatures.
- Use oven mitts when handling hot pots and pans.
- Do not wear loose clothing or long sleeves when cooking.
- Check for damaged or cracked cords on kettles and toasters.
- Buy appliances that shut off automatically.
- Refrain from cooking if you are impaired by alcohol, medication, or drugs that will make you drowsy.
Hot water heater failure can be very destructive and expensive to clean up.
- If your water heater does fail, a pressurized, unlimited amount of water can flood your home.
- Often there is no warning when your hot water heater is about to fail.
- Even a new water heater can malfunction at any time without warning.
- There is no guarantee on the life span of a water heater, even if it is listed on the appliance.
- Sediments in your hot water heater could be an indication of a malfunction.
- When you replace your hot water heater, install a drip pan.
- Place a water alarm or flood detector near the water heater.
- On existing water heaters, install a flood ring, seal it to the floor and pipe it to a drain or sump pump.
- If possible, your hot water heater should be installed near a floor drain.
One of the most common causes for sump pump failure is an electrical power outage.
- Perform regular maintenance on your sump pump to prevent water damage.
- In the event of a power outage, your sump pump will fail to operate unless you have a battery back-up/generator.
- To avoid mechanical breakdown, perform routine maintenance checks on your sump pump.
- In order for a sump pump to operate effectively it should be plugged in at all times.
- After a power outage, ensure your sump pump is functioning properly.
- It is a good idea to install a surge protector for your sump pump.
Washing machine hoses are potentially the most damaging maintenance items in a home.
Hoses are subject to high pressures in the washing process and so they deteriorate quickly. Failure to turn off your taps after each washing machine use can result in major water damage if a hose ruptures. Here are some helpful tips to prevent damage in your home:
- Reinforced hoses only cost a few dollars more - a small price to pay for peace of mind.
- Change/replace your hoses at the first sign of deterioration.
- Place a water alarm near your washing machine to warn you of a possible leak.
- When changing your washer hoses, unplug the machine and make sure the water is turned off.
Weather-generated water such as rain, melting snow or ice can cause water damage to the interior of your home.
- Leaves and other debris can clog your eaves troughs and downspouts.
- Improper ground drainage can cause water to enter your home.
- The settling of your home may create cracks in the foundation wall allowing water to enter.
- Your roof covering should be maintained to prevent water from entering your home.
- Accumulation of ice and snow on your roof can lead to ice damming.
- Clean eaves trough regularly.
- Build up ground, around your home, to slope away for proper drainage.
- Inspect the foundation of your home for cracks.
- Inspect roof covering for signs of deterioration.
If a power outage should occur, take the following precautions:
- Avoid opening doors unnecessarily.
- Turn off all electrical appliances.
- Ensure that ventilation is maintained.
- If there is a danger of freezing pipes, consult with a plumber to turn off the main water valve, drain the line(s) and put plumbing antifreeze in toilet bowls, sinks and bathtub drains.
- Consult with a plumber to turn off and drain your hot water heater.
Once power has been restored, remember to:
- Turn on the main water valve and close taps (if you have turned your water off).
- Fill and turn on your water heater.
- Flush toilets and drain sinks and tubs to dispose of anti-freeze.
- Check food for spoilage.
- Turn on the main electrical switch.
Make sure to place your barbeque 3ft. away from home, patio furniture and other combustibles before lighting and never leave a barbeque unattended. To keep children safe ensure they stay a safe distance away from the barbeque.
For Gas/Propane Barbeques:
- Use soap and water for leak detection.
- Never use matches or a lighter to check for leaks.
- Use the ignite button or a barbeque lighter to light the burner.
- Open the barbeque cover lid when lighting.
- Turn off the tank valve when not in use.
For Charcoal Barbeques:
- Use only barbeque lighter fluid, solid charcoal lighter or an electric barbecue starter to ignite the charcoal.
- Close the cover of the barbeque lighter fluid and make sure there is no fluid residue on your hands or clothing prior to lighting.
- Never put additional fluid on the barbeque after lighting.
- When finished, extinguish the coals by using lots of water and storing the coals in a metal container
- Keep informed of the expected weather conditions. Obtain up-to-date information from your local radio or television station, or visit www.weatheroffice.gc.ca
- Keep a flashlight and a battery operated radio at hand including a sufficient amount of spare batteries.
- Ensure you have a telephone that does not require electricity to function (most cordless and multi-feature phones will not work in a power outage).
- Secure items inside your home that can move, fall, break, or cause a fire. Remove large or heavy objects from high shelves to lower shelves.
- Store flammable products away from all heat sources.
- Teach family members how and when to turn off gas, electricity, and water supplies.
- Trim back dead or weak branches from trees located near your home, outbuildings, parked or stored vehicles and power lines.
- Store all outdoor objects such as patio/lawn furniture, BBQ, toys, and garden tools and anchor objects that cannot be brought inside.
- Protect your windows with permanent shutters or plywood panels that are approximately ½ inch thick.
- If you have a sump pump, make sure it is in proper working order as ground water always increases during storms.
- If possible, purchase a generator or DC to AC converter for your car. A generator should be big enough to run your refrigerator, a lamp or two and any fans. A DC to AC converter will allow your car to be used as a portable generator. You will need a heavy duty extension cord to run the power into your house. Never run the car or any gasoline generator in the garage as this creates carbon monoxide and is very hazardous.
- Ensure you have a sufficient supply of charcoal or propane for your BBQ so that you are able to cook and heat food for meals. Remember never to operate your BBQ from inside your home or garage.
- Keep our phone number handy! National Operations Claims number: 1.800.804.0087.