'Tis the season to be safe and careful, warns local firefighter
With many lights on trees, hot ovens cooking a turkey all day and folks being busy and distracted, Barrie firefighters urge people to be safe this year.

Despite the call for reduced gatherings due to COVID-19 restrictions, Barrie's deputy fire chief, Carrie Clark, said people should still be mindful of their surroundings. 

“It looks like another weird year when it comes to hosting, or not hosting,” said Clark. “But there are still plenty of things that could go wrong if folks take their eyes off the key areas of their home.”

In December of 2020, the Barrie Fire Department answered 751 calls for service; about 70 percent of those were medically-related calls.  

Clark told BarrieToday that last year, there were 11 fires and10 cooking-related close calls such as pots on stoves and nine burn complaints. 

“It's the time of year we see big dinners happening and we need to remind everyone that if you’re cooking, stay in the kitchen,” said Clark. “A kitchen fire can get out of hand quickly and you’ll want to be nearby if it ever happens.”

Clark reminds everyone to have a fire extinguisher handy and close by, just in case.

This time of year, many are setting up candles to create an ambience for their homes. Clark agrees that candles are a beautiful addition to a setting, but that they can spark bigger problems.

“Candles are one of those things that can be a small beauty, but left alone or forgotten about, can be a big issue that leads to a lot of damage,” said Clark. “Don’t light candles if you’re going to be easily distracted and forget they are lit.”

Last year, there were 73 accidental alarm activations and Barrie fire attended 23 carbon monoxide calls, seven of which had carbon monoxide present and 14 public hazard calls (natural gas leaks or wires down).

Clark reminds everyone to ensure that smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are in working condition and says to “believe the alarms when they sound and practise your escape plan.”

“You’ll also want to make sure that if you rent that you have renters' insurance,” said Clark. “This may seem like a payment that you don’t want or need to make every month, but if you ever do really need it, it could save your financial stability.”

While it may seem like less people are smoking cigarettes indoors, there is still concern for smoking-related blazes.

“Whether it is cigarettes or marijauna, people are still smoking and so long as they are, caution will always be needed,” said Clark. “Make sure anything you light is properly put out before you leave or go to bed.”

Clark wishes everyone a happy holiday with their families but stresses safety and caution.

“We’re also in a state of keeping the crews safe as we spend time with our second families here at the station,” said Clark. “There will be crews on site but we won’t be crossing platoons or have big meals together."


<back to Headlines