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Winter Fire Safety Information

HAMILTON, ON – With the forecast of heavy snow this weekend and the possibility that accumulations of 10 to 15 centimeters, Hamilton firefighters would like to remind all citizens of some important fire safety tips.

Many fire hydrants will be buried in snow banks and snowdrifts. The Hamilton Fire Department is reminding citizens that when clearing snow from your driveways and sidewalks, it is important to also shovel an area around fire hydrants to ensure clear access and to make them easy to locate by responding firefighters. A delay caused by a hydrant that is buried in a snow drift can significantly impact efforts to save lives and minimize property damage. 

In addition to clearing driveways and sidewalks, citizens are asked to check snow accumulations around exit doors, furnace vents and natural gas meters. It is imperative that all exit doors/stairways and fire escapes remain free of snow accumulations so that in the event of a fire emergency, your exit is not obstructed. The Ontario Fire Code requires that all exterior passageways, exterior stairways and fire escapes be maintained free of all snow and ice accumulations. Building owners and landlords are asked to check their buildings and clear all snow as required. 

Vent pipes from furnaces and hot water heaters can easily be buried in snow drifts. Built in safety features should cause a furnace to shut down if the vent is blocked but carbon monoxide build-ups may still occur prior to the shut-down. Citizens with direct vent appliances (high/mid-efficiency furnaces and some natural gas water heaters) are asked to check their vent pipes and remove all snow from around the pipes.

Citizens are reminded to not warm up a car or a snow blower by letting the engine run in an attached garage as carbon monoxide levels will build up and eventually seep into the home. If in the event of a power failure, you use a portable generator, remember that it should be used only outdoors and placed in a location where fumes will not enter the building.

Candles are commonly used as a light source in the event of a power outage however they can easily cause a fire if used improperly. If possible, use a flashlight or a chemical light stick as an alternative light source. If you use candles, do not leave a burning candle unattended. Extinguish the candle when you leave the room. Place the candle in a secure holder, protected by a glass chimney and away from all combustibles.

A working smoke alarms is required to be installed on every floor level of your home and It’s now the law in Ontario to install carbon monoxide (CO) alarms in homes if they have a fuel-burning appliance or an attached garage.

For more information on fire safety, contact our Fire Prevention Division at 905 546-2424 ext. 1380, weekdays between 8:30 am and 4:30 pm or visit our website at