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Off-Campus Housing Services
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Fire Safety

The London Fire Department and The University of Western Ontario want you to be "Fire Safe". The following information has been compiled to help you check for some common fire hazards and other key issues when searching for a place to live off campus. Keep this in mind when looking at possible accommodations.

Fire Exits

Fire regulations will vary depending on the type of building that you reside in. A home with an apartment, regardless of number, is required to have properly separated fire exits. A separated exit generally means that a fire anywhere in the building will not affect your ability to leave. Separations usually include fire doors, dry walled ceilings and walls. Exits must always be kept clear of combustibles and obstructions. Fire doors must always be closed and not wedged open.

There should always be a minimum of two ways out of your bedroom. The window can be considered an exit, but ensure that it is operable and is of sufficient size and height to allow you to get out in an emergency. Those in a basement apartment that open into a window well must have adequate space to allow exiting.

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Operating Smoke Alarms

Working smoke alarms are the only thing that will provide an early warning to a fire. Legally, smoke alarms are required outside all sleeping areas and at least one per level. For extra protection, smoke alarms can be installed in each bedroom. Alarms must be installed as per the manufacturer’s installation instructions.

Note that it is the building owner's responsibility to maintain these alarms, including changing the batteries. Tenants test the units monthly and report any problem to the owner or landlord. Failure to comply with Ontario Fire Code smoke alarm requirements could result in a ticket of up to $360 or fine of up to $50,000 for individuals (first offence) or $500,000 for corporations (first offence).

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House Numbers

Ensure that your home is easily identifiable from the street by emergency personnel. House numbers should not be less than three inches in height.

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Carbon Monoxide Alarms

Any home that contains fuel fire appliances (those powered by natural gas, propane, or wood stoves and fireplaces) or contains an attached garage must have carbon monoxide alarms present, outside all sleeping areas. Carbon monoxide alarms must be installed and maintained as per the manufacturer’s instructions.

BUILDING FIRE SAFETY CHECKLIST

  • The unit has safe and adequate exits to ensure my escape from a fire.
  • The bedroom has at least two ways out.
  • There are working smoke alarms on every level of the building and outside all sleeping areas.
  • The house number is clearly visible from the street.
  • If there are fuel fire appliances or an attached garage, there is a working carbon monoxide (CO) alarm outside each sleeping area.

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Some Fire Safety Tips

Cooking

  • Don't cook if you're sleepy, if you've been drinking alcohol excessively, or if you've taken medication that makes you drowsy.
  • Stick around. Watch while you cook. Stand by your pan! Never leave stovetop cooking unattended.
  • Keep pot holders, food packaging, cookbooks, dish towels and anything that burns away from your stove.
  • Put a lid on it! If a pot catches fire, slide the lid over the pot and turn off the stove. Never attempt to move the pot outside or to the sink.

Smoking

  • Smoke outside when possible.
  • Use large, deep, non-tip ashtrays.
  • Never smoke in bed.
  • It's risky to smoke when you've been drinking or when you're drowsy.
  • After a party, check furniture and cushions for smoldering cigarette butts.

Electrical Fire Safety

  • Keep space heaters clear of combustible materials.
  • Only charge electronic devices on a hard surface. Electronic devices like phones and laptops create heat when charging and can cause a fire.
  • Never charge your phone or laptop under your pillow or under blankets.
  • Refrain from using extension cords. Make sure cords are in good condition and are the proper rating for the application.

Candles

  • Never leave burning candles unattended and make sure all candles are extinguished when you leave the room or go to bed.
  • Keep papers, curtains, bedding and anything that burns away from lit candles.
  • Use sturdy candle holders and never let candles burn all the way down.
  • Don't place lit candles in windows or near doorways, where drafts could bring combustibles in contact with the flame.
  • Locate burning candles in a secure place, away from small children and pets.

FIRE-SAFE BEHAVIOUR CHECKLIST

  • I never cook when I am sleepy or have been drinking.
  • I never leave stovetop cooking unattended.
  • I keep combustibles away from the stovetop and keep a pot lid handy.
  • I always handle smoking materials safely or I do not smoke.
  • I never leave candles unattended and keep them away from combustibles.
  • I always charge my phone and laptop on a hard surface.
  • I never tamper with or disable life safety equipment like smoke alarm or fire extinguishers.

To learn more about Fire and Life Safety visit: https://london.ca/living-london/community-services/fire-emergency-services/london-fire-department

Finally, remember that a few minutes spent ensuring that your home is fire safe and preparing for an emergency could save your life. If you have any questions about fire safety, or have a concern or question regarding your residence, contact the London Fire Department - Fire Prevention office at (519) 661-4565.

In an Emergency, call 911
(For Police, Fire and Ambulance in London and the surrounding area)

Western & Neighbourhood Relations
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