Fire Prevention

The fire department is heavily involved in fire prevention and education activities for children, adults, civic groups, schools and businesses. Our programs consist of:

  • Fire Safety Workshops for Residential, Industrial and Commercial
  • Fire Hall Tours
  • Juvenile Firesetters Program

We currently have fourteen firefighters who have been trained and present programs to children in Pre-K through the 7th grade. Local youth groups are also administered to.
The fire department also provides fire prevention and education to community service groups and businesses in the form of speaking engagements, fire extinguisher demonstrations and training, fire drills, etc.

There is never a charge for our fire prevention programs. If you would like to take advantage of these programs, please call the Fire Prevention Office at 604-514-2883.

Dryer Fires

Lint is composed of tiny bits of fabric fibers that are shed from the edges of our garments. Fabrics made of natural fibers like cotton and wool generate more lint than fabrics made of rayon or other synthetic materials. Bits of fiber break off from our clothing from the friction of wear.

When clothes go through the washer, dirt and lint are lifted from the garments but remain on the fabric in its wet state. During drying, the lint is released as water is removed from the wet fabric and friction increases as a result of the tumbling action. Finally, a heating mechanism within the dryer called an open-wire element creates an air stream that sweeps through the garments, blowing the lint off and trapping it in the lint screen. The dryer's exhaust system, which pulls moisture and heat safely out of your home, also helps to suction lint off the clothes.

Regardless of how lint gets in there, cleaning your dryer's lint screen regularly is important. Reduced airflow resulting from lint buildup can cause the appliance to operate at elevated temperatures and overheat.

You should always clean out your lint trap after each use. It is recommended that you have your dryer duct system cleaned at least once a year.

Lint build-up around the heating element is flammable light material that will ignite quite quickly.

What happens is if you don’t clean out you lint trap is that the lint restricts the air flow and causes you dryer to work harder. When this happens you raise the temperature inside the dryer and if you have the right conditions you could ignite the lint particles and cause a fire.

Potting Soil Fires and Your Safety

Many potting soil mixes on the market today contain as much or more organic material as inorganic material. For example, potting soil can be made of shredded wood, bark, and/or peat moss with minimal amounts of what we call real soil (dirt). Styrofoam pellets, perlite and vermiculite are some of the other items that are often added to the soil mixture for aeration and water retention. In addition, many mixtures also include different types of fertilizers. Some fertilizers are oxidizers, which will make a fire that does start, grow at an even faster rate.

Potting soil mixtures are shipped moist and in plastic bags from the manufacturer. Most people use the soil in their planters in the spring, and then they forget about them once Fall/Winter arrives. Bacterial decomposition occurs within the mix that creates heat. This is the same principle that makes compost piles or bales of hay heat up. Although this principle, which is called self heating, is usually found more often in climates containing more moisture; because water acts as a catalyst.

As evidenced this year fires can start when you use the old potting soil as an ashtray. You may think you are putting your cigarette out into "dirt", when in fact you are creating an opportunity for fire. So the question to ask is, "Have you taken the proper precautions with the planter pots in and around your home to keep your family and property safe?"

Helpful Hints:

  • Do not use old planter pots that contain potting soil as an ashtray.
  • Keep an ash tray (metal can with sand) in areas where someone might be smoking around potted plants. This is a great idea for large shopping complexes or your business.
  • If you have dead plants in pots in and around your home, discard them properly. Throw them out in the trash or take the soil from the pots and spread it in your yards or gardens.
  • Keep your plants well watered and maintained.
  • Talk to your local gardener about proper watering procedures.
  • If you keep you're potting soil in your garage or on your deck, do not leave it near any combustible material.
  • Utilize a clay pot instead of plastic.
  • Keep your plastic pots out of the direct sunlight.

Carbon Monoxide Dangers

Each year, hundreds of people experience what they think are symptoms of the flu: headaches, fatigue, nausea and dizziness.
Some recover; some die.

Carbon monoxide (CO) is produced from burning any fuel. Any fuel-burning appliance in your home is a possible source of CO. Your car is a source of CO, too.

When appliances and their vents are in good working order, there is little danger from CO. When they don't operate properly, fatal CO concentrations can be produced. Running a car in a garage can also cause CO poisoning.

Carbon monoxide displaces the body's essential oxygen. Besides flu-like symptoms, it can also cause vomiting, loss of consciousness, brain damage and eventually, death. Unborn babies, infants, senior citizens and people with heart problems or breathing difficulties are especially at risk.

If symptoms disappear and you feel better when you go outside your home, but symptoms reappear when you go back inside, you may have CO poisoning.

Do's and Don'ts:

  • Install CO detectors in your home; at least one near sleeping areas, another outside furnace room.
  • Make sure manufacturer's instructions and local building codes are followed when installing fuel-burning appliances.
  • Have your heating system inspected and serviced annually.
  • Follow the manufacturer's instructions for safe operation.
  • Inspect chimneys and vents regularly for improper connections, rust or stains.
  • Be aware of any indications that an appliance is not operating properly.
  • If your CO detector activates, open windows, get everyone out and call for help.
  • Never use a gas oven for heating.
  • Never leave a car running in a garage.
  • Never operate unvented fuel-burning appliances in a closed room.

Fire Safety for People with Disabilities

You Should Plan Ahead for Emergencies ...

You should speak with someone about what you should do in case of a fire in your home. Your family, friends, the fire department or a social services agency should be able to help you develop an escape plan you can practice. You should make it a point to practice with the people who live with or nearby you. Their assistance and correct actions may be critical in helping you to successfully escape a fire.

Suggestions:

Live Near an Exit ... If you live in an apartment you should try to occupy one on the ground floor. If you are living in a two-story house, try to arrange to sleep on the first floor, and be sure to have a telephone next to your bed. Being closer to the ground and an exit will make your escape from a fire that much faster. If necessary, you should have a ramp constructed for emergency exits.

Install Smoke Detectors ... Working Smoke Detectors give you the needed time to evacuate in the event of a fire in your home. You should test your alarms weekly and change the batteries at least once each year. If your smoke detectors are 10 years old or more, they should be replaced.

Memorize the telephone number of your fire department and tape it on or near all of your telephones. Make sure your home is clearly numbered. In the event of fire, always get out first if you can, and then call the fire department. If you are trapped inside, give the dispatcher your exact room location.

You should pre-plan your escape routes in the event of a fire and know what to do in case of fire.

Fire Safety for Senior Citizens

Know exactly what you should do and where you should go in case of a fire in your home.

Get Out and Stay Out : Exit your home as quickly as you can ... go to a neighbor's house and call the Fire Department. Don't even think about going back inside your house to save anything!

In An Apartment: Be able to unlock a deadbolt lock quickly and easily. Know how to get to the enclosed exit stairway ... and never take an elevator ... it could take you to the fire floor.

Know Two Ways Out: Know at least two ways out of every room in your house or apartment in case smoke or flames block your primary exit. Include all hallways and stairs in your escape plan.

If You Are Trapped: Put closed doors between you and the smoke/fire. Stuff the cracks and cover vents with clothing, blankets, etc. to help keep the smoke out of the room you are in. Put a wet cloth over your nose and wait at the window for help to arrive ... signal with a light colored pillowcase or sheet or with a flashlight if one is available. If there is a telephone in the room, call 911 and tell them where you are.

In A One or Two Story House: Make sure you can open the windows easily. Is your bedroom situated for easy access to a second way out? Can you plan your route across a balcony, porch or garage roof? Or do you need special provisions where you live? If so, be sure they are taken care of soon. For example, those who have difficulty going up or down stairs might be better off in first floor bedrooms.

In Case of Fire: Know how to take care of yourself in an emergency. You could save yourself as well as others!

Test The Door: Test the door with the back of your hand, if the door is hot, use your second exit. If it is not hot, brace your shoulder against the door and open it carefully, being ready to close it if heat or smoke rushes in.

Smother A Grease Fire: If a cooking pot catches fire, cover it with the lid immediately and turn off the burner. Do not run water into the pot ... that will only cause the fire to spread. Be careful! Trying to smother a fire any other way can be dangerous. Call the Langley City Fire-Rescue Service for a post fire inspection to make sure there is no extension of fire.

Stop, Drop, Cover and Roll: If your clothing catches fire, Stop right where you are, Drop gently to the floor or ground, Cover your face with your hands and Roll. You want to smother the fire while protecting your face, throat and lungs ... so don't beat at the fire with your hands - your body will do the best job of smothering.

Get Down And Stay Low: Smoke rises while clean air stays low near the floor. So crawl while maintaining contact with the walls as you go to the nearest exit.

Cool A Burn: Your best first aid is cool (not cold) water ... this helps to stop more skin damage from the heat. Do Not use salves or butter ... this treatment only traps the heat inside.

Check Out A Burn: See your doctor right away about any burns that char the skin, blister, look white or become infected.

Protect Yourself: Here are some simple ways you can stop fires before they happen ... or to be prepared when they do.

Install Working Smoke Detectors: Have Smoke Detectors installed on every floor in your home. Test the Smoke Detectors according to the manufacturer's directions each week, and change the batteries at least once each year (a good idea is to change the batteries each year on a special birthday). Working Smoke Detectors can provide the early warning critical in giving you enough time to safely escape a burning fire.
Give Space Heaters Space: Keep space heaters at least three feet away from everything ... including you. A slight brush against one could start a clothing fire.

Be Smoker Wary: Have large, deep ashtrays for smokers. Fill the ashtrays with water before emptying them in a safe place. Check upholstered furniture for dropped matches or cigarettes. And never smoke in bed or while on medication that may make you sleepy.
Be Kitchen Wise: Wear tight fitting sleeves while you cook. Set a timer so you never forget to turn off the burners or oven when you cook. And never use a cooking stove to heat your home.

Check Out Appliances: Make sure all plugs and cords are in good shape. Replace any worn appliances. It's worth your peace of mind.
Sleep With Your Bedroom Door Closed: Put closed doors between you and smoke. Also have a telephone nearby, preferably on your nightstand near your glasses, if you wear them. This will help you to see more clearly if you need to get out.
"Working Smoke Detectors Can Save Your Life!"

Juvenile Firesetters Program

Finding your child playing with matches or lighters? Have you tried everything you know to stop this behavior, but nothing seems to work? Don't know what to do ... afraid of what might happen if this fireplay activity continues? Curiosity about fire can be a natural, but dangerous thing. If fireplay activity seems to be a common occurrence with your child ... that is not normal, and help is needed to find out why this is happening. Fireplay activity can be deadly ... don't be afraid to ask for help.

Our Juvenile Firesetters Program may be able to help curb this undesirable behavior. Of course, there is no charge for our services, and all information is kept strictly confidential. Although we are not counselors, we have been trained to provide the proper course of action needed after our evaluation of the situation. Our assessment will determine whether the child is in need of additional professional counseling, which we will direct you too.

To obtain help, or more information, call the Fire Prevention Office at (604) 514-2883.

Teachers, School Social Workers, etc., ... If you know of a student that has a fireplay problem, please call our office for information and refer our service to the parents or guardians. Call (604) 514-2883 for Help!

"Kids and Matches ... a Dangerous Combination"

Match and Lighter Fire Safety

Children and Fire:

Every year, hundreds of children die in home fires started by children who were using or playing with matches or lighters.
Many of the children who lit these fatal fires were merely being curious about fire; others used fire in anger or as a "cry for help". Some set fires deliberately as an act of vandalism. Any act of firesetting, regardless of the reason, is dangerous and must be handled appropriately.

Children have a normal and healthy fascination with fire. If your children express curiosity about fire, or if you find they have been playing with matches or lighters, it's best to respond calmly, not punitively.
An excellent approach is to explain firmly to your child that matches and lighters are tools for adults to use carefully. As children grow more mature, they can learn how to use matches and lighters safely, but only under adult supervision.

Keep Matches and Lighters Away From Children:

Children as young as two years old have been reported to have started fires with matches and lighters. If you live with children, treat matches and lighters, as you would treat a dangerous weapon: Store them up high, out of children's reach, preferably in a locked cabinet.

Teach young children that if they see matches or lighters they should not touch them, but to tell a grown-up about them and where they are. School-age children, on the other hand, should be taught to bring matches or lighters to an adult so the hazard can be removed from younger children.

Don't Leave Children Unattended:

Unsupervised children can sometimes get their hands on matches and lighters that are well hidden ... they may go "looking for them", or they may know where you hide them.

If You Smoke:

Each year, careless smokers start roughly 35,000 home fires. Those fires cause more than 1,200 deaths and lead to hundreds of millions of dollars in property loss.

Check for Hidden Embers: Cigarettes can smolder under the cushions of a chair or sofa for several hours before igniting. That's long enough for the whole family to be asleep before the fire shows itself. Before leaving a room where people have been smoking, check in and around furniture for hot embers, ashes, butts, or matches.

Use Ashtrays: To reduce the risk of cigarettes starting a fire, have plenty of large, deep ashtrays on hand and empty them often. Fill them with water before dumping cigarette butts into wastebaskets.

Smoker's Need Watchers: Never smoke in bed or when you are drowsy. Keep an eye on any smoker who is taking medication that might cause drowsiness. Especially watch anyone who is smoking and drinking.

Just a Reminder:

Fires started by matches and lighters claim thousands of lives each year. Most of those deaths could be prevented by a few simple precautions:

  • Store matches and lighters out of children's reach.
  • Teach children that matches and lighters are tools for adults, not toys.
  • If you suspect your child is setting fires, get help immediately. Your local Fire Department can put you in touch with experts trained to help.
  • If you smoke, use great caution and check for smoldering cigarettes or embers before leaving a room.
  • NEVER smoke in bed!

"Fire Safety Education ... the Best Fire Prevention"

Portable Fire Extinguishers

When used properly, portable fire extinguishers can save lives and property by putting out a small fire or containing it until the fire department arrives.Portable fire extinguishers for home use, however, are not designed to fight large or spreading fires. Even for small fires they are useful only under certain conditions:

  • The operator must know how to use the extinguisher. There is no time to read directions during an emergency.
  • The extinguisher must be within easy reach and in working order, fully charged.
  • The operator must have a clear escape route that will not be blocked by fire.
  • The extinguisher must match the type of fire being fought. Extinguishers that contain water are unsuitable for use of grease and electrical fires.
  • The extinguisher must be large enough to put out the fire. Many portable extinguishers discharge completely in as few as 8 to 10 seconds.

What Type of Extinguisher Should I Use?

There are three basic classes of fires, and all extinguishers are labeled as to what type of fire they can put out. They will have standard symbols on them and if there is a red slash through a symbol that tells you it cannot be used on that kind of fire.

The three classes are:

Class A: Ordinary combustibles such as wood, paper, cloth, and cardboard.

Class B: Flammable liquids such as gasoline, solvents, and oil-based paint.

Class C: Electrical such as wiring, fuse boxes, circuit breakers and appliances.

The fire extinguisher must be appropriate for the type of fire being fought. If you use the wrong kind of fire extinguisher, you can make the fire worse and endanger yourself. For example, if you use a water extinguisher on an electrical fire, you'll find that to be quite a shocking experience ... using a pressurized extinguishing agent on grease fire will spread the fire rather than extinguishing it. Multipurpose fire extinguishers can be used on all three classes of fires.

What Size Extinguisher Should I Buy?

Portable fire extinguishers are also rated for the size of fire they can handle. This rating will appear on the label - for example, 3A:10B:C. The larger the numbers, the larger the fire that the extinguisher can put out ... but the higher-rated models are often much heavier. Make sure you can hold and operate an extinguisher before you buy it.

What You Need to Know About Installing and Maintaining Extinguishers...

Fire extinguishers should be installed in plain view, above the reach of children, near an escape route and away from stoves and heating appliances.

Fire extinguishers require some routine care. Make sure you read your operator's manual to learn how to inspect your fire extinguisher. Follow the manufacturer's instructions on maintaining the extinguisher.

Rechargeable models must be serviced after every use (look in the Yellow Pages of your telephone directory under "Fire Extinguishers" for local companies that service them). The disposable fire extinguishers can be used only one time and must be replaced after use.

How to Use Your Fire Extinguisher:

Always remember to keep your back to an unobstructed exit and stand six to eight feet away from the fire. Remember to PASS:

PULL the pin: this unlocks the operating lever and allows you to discharge the extinguisher. Some extinguishers may have other lever release mechanisms.

AIM low: point the extinguisher nozzle (or hose) at the BASE of the fire.

SQUEEZE the lever above the handle ... this discharges the extinguishing agent. Releasing the lever will stop the discharge (some extinguishers have a button instead of a lever).

SWEEP from side to side ... moving carefully toward the fire, keep the extinguisher aimed at the base of the fire and sweep back and forth until the flames appear to be out. Watch the fire area. If the fire re ignites, repeat the process.
ALWAYS make sure the fire department is called and inspects the fire site, even if you think you have extinguished the fire!

Should You Try to Fight the Fire?

Before you begin to fight a fire:

  • Make sure everyone has left or is leaving the building
  • Make sure the fire department has been called
  • Make sure the fire is confined to a small area and is not spreading
  • Make sure you have an unobstructed escape route to which the fire will not spread
  • Make sure you have read the instructions and know how to use the extinguisher
  • It is reckless to fight a fire in any other circumstances. Instead, leave immediately and close off the area.

For more information on the selection and use of portable fire extinguishers call Langley City Fire-Rescue Service at (604) 514 2880.

"Have You Looked At Your Fire Extinguisher lately?"

Prevent Burn Injuries

Fire and burn related incidents are a leading cause of accidental death. 39% of burn injuries in B.C. are caused by hot liquids or vapours.

Langley City Fire-Rescue Service reminds you of the following fire and life safety tips to help prevent burn injuries:

Safety for Children

Educate your children that hot things can cause burns. Never leave hot liquids or foods unattended or where a child may pull them down. Keep appliances such as irons out of children's reach. Keep children at a safe distance from the cooking area and maintain constant supervision when barbequing and during outdoor cook outs.

Many fatal burns to children are the result of their playing with fire. Teach children that matches and lighters are tools not toys. Use child-resistant lighters and store all matches and lighters out of sight and out of reach of children.

In the Kitchen

Never leave cooking foods unattended - oil or fat can ignite. If you are faced with a grease fire, carefully slide a lid over the pan and turn off the heat source.

Always turn pot handles to the back of the stove when cooking to avoid pots being pulled or knocked off. Never leave hot liquids or food unattended or at the edge of a table or counter where they may be pulled down by a child.

Avoid wearing loose fitting sleeves when cooking that may contact stove burners and ignite.

Water Temperature

When running a bath, always run the cold water into the tub first, then add hot water to the desired temperature. Before placing a child in the bath tub, test the temperature of the water by moving your hand through the water for several seconds. If the water feels hot, add cold water until the temperature feels comfortable.

The thermostat on your water heater should be not more than 49C (120F).

Matches and Lighters

Many fatal burns to children are the result of their playing with fire. Teach children that matches and lighters are tools not toys. Use child-resistant lighters and store all matches and lighters out of the reach of children.

Stop Drop and Roll

If your clothes catch on fire - Stop immediately, Drop to the floor, cover your face with your hands and Roll over and over to extinguish the flames.

Cool a Burn

If someone is burned, cool the burned area immediately with cool water for 10 - 15 minutes. Cool water reduces skin damage and minimizes pain. Never put ice, very cold water, butter or lotions on a burn as they seal the heat in. If the burn blisters or chars, seek medical help immediately.

Smoke Alarms and Home Escape Plans

Purchase and install working smoke alarms and practice home escape plans. Maintain your smoke alarms regularly. "Change your clock, change your battery".

Contact Langley City Fire-Rescue Service at (604) 514-2883 for more information.

Burn Prevention Tips

The National Burn Awareness Program teaches kids to be responsible for their own safety, and make their families aware of potentially harmful situations. BC's Professional Firefighters offer these tips for children and their families.

Fire Safety Tips

On fire: learn and practice to stop, drop and roll.

In smoke: Get low under smoke and go!

Practice fire drills: Know and have two-ways out. Have an assembly point. Count heads. Use stairs, never elevators.

Check smoke detectors every month: Change batteries twice a year, in the spring and fall.

Burn First Aid

Stop, drop and roll. STOP where you are; don't run. DROP to the ground or floor; cover your face with your hands, And ROLL over and over until the fire is out.

Use cool water. Immediately on the burn. Do not use Vaseline, butter, or ice.

Cover the burn: use a clean, dry sheet. Keep the person warm.

Seek immediate medical attention.

Become a "Burn Buster"

In every room:

  • Cover all electric sockets with outlet covers.
  • Replace frayed wiring or loose connections.
  • Unplug all appliances and decorative lighting before going out or going to sleep.
  • Remove wiring/cords from under rugs (a severe fire hazard) and place out of reach of children and pets.
  • Keep all lighters and matches out of reach of children. Children playing with fire annually cause millions of dollars in property damage, which results in thousands of burn injuries and deaths.
  • Never overload outlets or dangle cords.
  • Never put papers or flammable items near hot electrical appliances (on top of lamps).

In the bedroom:

  • Keep electrical heaters away from bedding.
  • Never smoke in bed.

In the kitchen:

More fires start in the kitchen than any other place in the home. On average, every person in this country will experience at least two kitchen fires in their lifetime.

  • Keep potholders, aprons, and paper articles away from the stove.
  • Turn pot handles inward so they cannot be reached or pulled down.
  • Use a frying screen over pans to prevent grease splattering.
  • Cover the pan with a lid if grease catches fire.
  • Throw baking soda or salt on grease fire.
  • Lock up chemicals and cleaning agents or put them high up and out of reach.

In the Living Room:

  • Keep fireplace covered with protective screen.
  • Remove flammable items from near fireplace or electric room heaters.
  • Never leave children alone when fireplace is lit.
  • Never leave candles burning unattended.
  • Never leave cigarettes unattended or smoldering in ashtrays.

In the bathroom:

  • Set the hot water heater thermostat to 120 degrees F.
  • Supervise children or disabled persons while bathing.
  • Test bath or shower water before bathing.
  • Never leave children alone while they are bathing.

In the backyard:

  • The inappropriate use of flammable/combustible substances, especially gasoline, is becoming the number one cause of burn injuries and deaths for adults.
  • Keep barbecue equipment away from flammable items.
  • Supervise the fire and cooking.
  • Extinguish coals or fire when done.
  • Never leave the barbecue or fire unattended.
  • Never apply additional lighter fluid once the fire has been started.
  • Never leave young children in charge of the fire.
  • Never use gasoline to light the fire or pour on the coals.

Most burn accidents are preventable. Most accidents are caused from people not thinking about what they're doing, using alcohol around fires, and not paying attention. The worst kind of a burn is the one you could have prevented, especially if it's a child! Awareness and action are the best tools for prevention.

Please remember: Tap water can seriously injure a child in almost no time at all!

Hot water causes third degree burns in:

  • 1 second @ 156 degrees
  • 2 seconds @ 149 degrees
  • 5 seconds @ 140 degrees
  • 15 seconds @ 133 degrees

Water Temperature - The Time It Takes For A Serious Burn:

  • 120 degrees F More than 5 minutes
  • 125 degrees F 1.5 to 2 minutes
  • 130 degrees F About 30 seconds
  • 135 degrees F About 10 seconds
  • 140 degrees F Less than 5 seconds
  • 145 degrees F Less than 3 seconds
  • 150 degrees F About 1.5 seconds
  • 155 degrees F About 1 second

For more information go to http://www.burnfund.org/

British Columbia Burn Facts

  • Every one hour and thirty five minutes a fire causing damage occurs in British Columbia.
  • Every day someone is injured by fire in British Columbia.
  • Fire causes approximately $450,000 damage each day in B.C.
  • Fire kills in British Columbia every 11 days.
  • 39% of burn injuries in British Columbia are caused by hot liquids or vapours.
  • 47% of burn injuries in British Columbia are caused by fires.
  • 37% of persons burned in fires are between 20 to 44 years of age.
  • Persons aged 1 to 14 years have the second highest incidence of burn injuries from fire.
  • The majority of fire injuries occur in private dwellings.
  • The ignition of flammable liquids and substances such as cooking fats and gasoline are major causes of burn injuries from fire.
  • Having a working smoke alarm in your home cuts your risk of dying in a fire by half.

Courtesy of the BC Office of the Fire Commissioner