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Fire Safety in the Great Outdoors

Radius Security's Blog providing security advice, safety tips, and various news articles to help you better secure your home or business.


Fire Safety in the Great Outdoors

June 6th, 2011 | by admin admin | in Safety Advice |    0   comments

The sun is finally here, and summer is on its way. Time to explore the great outdoors. Despite a damp, cool spring, wildfires remain a threat in B.C.’s forests. And tinder-dry wooden cabins can easily become fire traps in the summer.

In 2003, Mike Barre tried to stomp out a cigarette behind his house. Within moments a fire sprang to life, spreading quickly to nearby forested land. The wildfire grew to more than 260 kilometres and cost the B.C. Ministry of Forests more than $ 31 million to fight.

In B.C., it is illegal to drop a burning substance within one kilometre of a forest. Barre was fined $ 3,000. You can avoid Barre’s mistake by keeping a bucket of water nearby for your cigarette butts.

Besides cigarettes, campfires remain one of the leading causes of wildfires. Some tips:

  • Check with authorities whether there are any restrictions on open fires.
  • Consider wind conditions: will the wind carry sparks to combustible materials?
  • Use an established firepit, if possible, and create a fuel-free zone at least one metre around your fire. Keep the fire a reasonable distance away from flammable materials, including logs, stumps and trees.
  • Keep a shovel and sand, or at least eight litres of water on hand.
  • Extinguish the fire by stirring water in until the ashes are cool to the touch.

Whether you’re using a campfire, stove, barbeque or candle (in a tip-proof holder, of course!), never leave any open flame unattended and keep it away from combustibles, children and pets.

If you own a cabin, install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors on every storey, and check them upon arrival. Wooden cabins can burn incredibly fast. In July 2009, three Vancouver children died in a tragic fire on Shuswap Lake. Their cabin – like most – was tinder dry and although firefighters arrived on the scene within five minutes, flames were already shooting 60 metres into the sky.

If a fire started at your cabin, would you have an extinguisher on hand? Would you know your location, to direct emergency responders? Would you have a fire escape plan in place?

Finally, drink responsibly. Knocking back copious amounts of beer and vodka, and then blowing up propane tanks in a clearing, while popular in some circles, is not the best way to enjoy the outdoors. Alcohol is a contributing factor in many fires.

For more informataion:

Office of the Fire Marshal, Ontario. Cottage Fire Safety Tips

B.C. Wildfire Management Branch. Respect the Use of Stoves and Campfires

Bonus feature: This Week in Vancouver

EAT! Vancouver – Vancouver Convention Centre – June 10 to 12

Dragon BoatFestival – False Creek and Richmond – June 11 to 12

Author: Susanna Chu

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