Fire Safety

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Safety and Fire Prevention

Whitby Fire and Emergency Services provides proactive fire safety information to the residents of Whitby in order to prevent the ignition of uncontrolled fires and limit the negative effects should a fire occur.

Carbon Monoxide Alarms

Carbon Monoxide Alarms are Required By Law

Protect your family from the hidden dangers of carbon monoxide by installing a working carbon monoxide alarm on every level of your home that contains a sleeping area.

The law requires that a carbon monoxide alarm(s) be installed in your home or apartment if it contains any fuel fired appliances including; a gas stove, wood stove, furnace, gas fueled water heater, fire place or if your home is connected to an adjacent garage.

What is carbon monoxide?

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colourless, odourless and deadly gas.

Where does carbon monoxide come from?

CO is a common by-product of combustion, which is present whenver fossil fuels are burned. CO enters your home from faulty or improperly ventilated home appliances that burn natural gas, oil, propane, wood or kerosene.

What are the health risks?

Exposure to CO can cause flu-like symptoms such as headaches, nausea and dizziness. In severe cases, CO poisioning can cause brain damage and death,

Where do I install my carbon monoxide alarm?

Install CO alarms as near to the sleeping area as possible. Additional alarms can be located near the home's heating source for added safety. Test and maintain as per the manufacturers' instructions.

What if my carbon monoxide alarm goes off?

1. Evacuate all occupants from the home immediately without ventilating.

2. Call 911 from a safe location.

3. Do not re-enter the home until you are told it is safe to do so.

Be EverAlert and Prevent Problems:
  • Have furnaces and chimneys professionally cleaned and inspected every year.
  • Do not leave vehicles or lawn mowers running in enclosed spaces.
  • Use barbecues outside, not in the home or garage.

Emergency Preparedness

Disaster can strike quickly and without warning. It can confine you to your home or force you to evacuate your neighbourhood.

What can you do to prepare?

When planning for an emergency, consideration should be given to disruption of day-to-day services like electricity, water, heat, air conditioning, telephone services and transportation. Plan on having food, water and other essentials, such as medications for at least 72 hours (three days), In some emergencies you may need to make additional preparations for your pets, seniors and persons with special needs.

The Emergency Response System

Emergency personnel (police, fire, emergency medical services) will be the first to respond in any event.

For large-scale disasters, Whitby and Durham Region will recall key personnel, open Emergency Operations Centres and coordinate suipport for the emergency response personnel.

Additional Resources

For more information on Emergency Preparedness visit the Region of Durham.

Fireworks

Town of Whitby By-law 6339-10 regulates both the sale and discharge of fireworks. The Town of Whitby's Risk Management and Education Division is responsible for the permit application to discharge outdoor fireworks and indoor pyrotechnics and the Town of Whitby's By-law Department is responsible for the sale of fireworks.

Discharging Fireworks and Indoor Pyrotechnics

The discharge of fireworks and/or pyrotechnics are required to meet one of the following three (3) categories. A permit application and fee may be required depending on; the time of year, the type of event and the type of fireworks (consumers, display or indoor pyrotechnics/fireworks).

Consumer Fireworks

Consumer fireworks (family fireworks) can be discharged without a permit application on the following four (4) days:

  • New Years Eve
  • New Years Day
  • Victoria Day
  • Canada Day

To discharge consumer fireworks on any other day of the year (weddings, parties, etc.) a fireworks permit application must be completed and submitted to Fire Headquarters at least 10 business days prior to the event via fax at (905)-430-8956 or in person at 111 McKinney Drive. There is no fee for this permit.

Permit Application to Discharge Consumer Fireworks

Display Fireworks

To discharge display fireworks (level II fireworks) the fireworks contractor and/or applicant must complete and submit a permit application at least 15 days prior to the event via fax at (905)-430-8956 or in person at 111 McKinney Drive. The fee for this permit is $254.25.

Permit Application to Discharge Display Fireworks

Indoor Pyrotechnics/Fireworks

To discharge indoor pyrotechnics/fireworks, the fireworks contractor and/or applicant must complete and submit a permit application at least 15 days prior to the event via fax at (905)-430-8956 or in person at 111 McKinney Drive. The fee for this permit is $254.25.

Permit Application to Discharge Indoor Pyrotechnics/Fireworks

Additional Resources

Please visit the resources below for additional safety information regarding the use and display of fireworks.

Home Escape Planning

When a fire happens, confusion can occur. Fires can be dark, loud and make it difficult to navigate through a home you thought you knew well. You may have only seconds to safely escape your home.

Be EverAlert and develop and practice a home fire escape plan:

  • Ensure that all exits are unobstructed. Have two ways out of every room.
  • Decide who will be responsible for helping young children, seniors or anyone that may need assistance.
  • Choose a meeting place outside, a safe distance from your home where everyone can be accounted for.
  • If caught in smoke, get low and go... crawking under the smoke to the nearest safe exit. Most fire deaths are the result of smoke inhalation.
  • Call 911 from outside of the home, from a cell phone or neighbour's home.
  • Once out, stay out. Never re-enter a burning building.
  • Practice your plan at night when children are sleeping.

Download our Home Fire Escape Planning sheet to develop and practice your plan.

Outdoor Burning

Town of Whitby By-law 6991-15 regulates open air burning. Open air burning is considered the burning of any material outside of a building.

Town of Whitby residents may have fires on their own property without obtaining a fire permit if the following is applicable:

  • The fire is used to cook food and is small, supervised, and confined.
  • The intent of the device is limited to cooking food.
  • The fire is in a listed propane or natural gas fuelled appliance being used in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions.

Chimineas, outdoor wood burning fireplaces, and campfires are examples of fires that are not permitted.

Open air burns that are not permitted will be subject to a fine and may be charged under the by-law and the Ontario Fire Code (O. Reg. 213/07, as amended).

Fire Permits

In the interest of public safety, Whitby Fire and Emergency Services reserves the right to issue a ban, or temporarily suspend all permits for open air burning should conditions as determined by Whitby Fire and Emergency Services warrant such action.

Rural Residential Fire Permit

Town of Whitby residents wishing to have fires consisting of tree trimmings in approved rural locations must apply for a Rural Residential Fire Permit. Burning of any type of construction material, wood, brush, and leaves is not permitted with this permit. Approved Rural Residential Fire Permits expire four (4) months after their approval date. Failure to comply with the requirements listed as part of the Rural Residential Fire Permit will negate approval or cancel the fire permit.

All Rural Residential Fire Permit applications must be completed and submitted with a cheque made payable to the Town of Whitby in person at Fire Hall No. 5 (111 McKinney Drive) Administration counter. The fee for this permit is $90.40.

Rural Residential Fire Permit

Agricultural Fire Permit

Town of Whitby residents wishing to have fires in approved agricultural or farm locations must apply for an Agricultural Fire Permit. Only the burning of Agricultural or Farm waste is permitted (brush, vegetation), while the burning of off-site landscaping debris, garbage or construction material is not permitted. Approved Agricultural Fire Permits expire at the end of the calendar year. Failure to comply with the requirements listed as part of the Agricultural Fire Permit will negate approval or cancel the fire permit.

All Agricultural Fire Permit applications must be completed and submitted with a cheque made payable to the Town of Whitby in person at Fire Hall No. 5 (111 McKinney Drive) Administration counter. The fee for this permit is $90.40.

Agricultural Fire Permit

Residential Sprinklers

In the unfortunate event of a fire, a properly designed and operational sprinkler system will control the fire to one room. This will add an element of life safety and property protection.

A study has found that homeowners prefer new homes to be protected with residential fire sprinklers. To learn more about this study, please visit the Home Fire Safety Coalition Canada.

Do residential sprinklers systems have maintenance requirements?

Residential Sprinklers do not require any maintenance. However, owners must be cautious to ensure that the sprinklers are not tampered with and that the water valve remains open.

Will sprinklers be esthetically pleasing in my home?

Residential sprinklers can be installed with concealed plates that blend in with the wall finish. A variety of colours are offered and they can even be ordered in a custom colour.

Additional Resources

For additional information regarding residential sprinkler systems, please visit Home Fire Safety Coalition Canada's Quick Guide to Fire Sprinklers.

 

Smoke Alarms

Installation of Smoke Alarms
  • Working smoke alarms are required on every storey of your home and outside your sleeping areas.
  • Also consider installing a working smoke alarm in each bedroom of your home.
  • Smoke rises. Install smoke alarms on the ceiling. If you cannot do this, place them high on a wall (between 4 and 12 inches from the ceiling) and according to the manufacturers' instructions. Avoid locations near bathrooms, heating appliances, windows or close to ceiling fans or corners.
Smoke Alarm Maintenance
  • Replace smoke alarms every ten years.
  • Test your smoke alarms every month using the test button.
  • Replace smoke alarm batteries twice a year and whenever the low battery warning sounds.
Managing Nuisance Alarms

A nuisance alarm is when a smoke alarm accidentally activates, generally due to cooking activites or steam from the shower. You can address this problem by:

  • Installing smoke alarms with a "pause" or "hush" feature.
  • Move the alarm elsewhere on the ceiling.
  • Avoid having a smoke alarm too close to the cooking area.
  • Keep ovens and burners clean and turn down the setting on the toaster.
  • Use the fan on the range hood when cooking.

For additional fire safety information, please contact our Risk Management and Education Division at 905-668-3312.