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Fire Safety

 Lithium-Ion Battery Safety

The evolution of technology within Canada has lead to the increased use and dependance of lithium-ion battery (LIB) products. Lithium-ion batteries store a lot of energy in a small space and can be used to power everyday items such as: 

  • cell phones 
  • laptops 
  • e-bikes 
  • micro-mobility devices 
  • power tools 
  • baby monitors 
  • children's toys

This modern convenience also comes with unique risks. When misused, mishandled, or modified these batteries present a severe risk of fire and explosion.   

Follow these tips when buying, charging, storing, and using lithium-ion batteries to help prevent fires:

  • Purchase and use devices that are listed by a qualified testing laboratory (such as ULC, CSA, ETL) and always follow the devices manufacturer's instructions.
  • Only use the battery that is designed for the device and use the approved charging cord that came with the device.

  • Charge batteries and devices on hard surfaces only – never soft surfaces.

  • When charging, set a timer. Never exceed the recommended charging time. Disconnect when fully charged. 
  • Manufacturer's instructions are provided with devices that use lithium-ion batteries. These instructions contain written directions on the necessary information for the safe and effective use of the device. Failure to follow these instructions may lead to a fire.

  • Keep lithium-ion batteries at room temperature – do not place batteries in direct sunlight or hot vehicles. 

  • Do not dispose of lithium-ion batteries in your household garbage. Dispose of your used batteries according to municipal hazardous waste requirements.
  • If your device or its battery has been damaged (dropped, exposed to moisture, or extreme heat) discontinue use. 
  • Stop using the lithium-ion battery if you notice an odour, change in colour, too much heat, change in shape, leaking and/or odd noises. Follow your home escape plan and call 9-1-1 once safely outside.

For More Information: 

Virtual Home Fire Safety Inspection 

This free online survey from Grey Highlands Fire and Emergency Services asks residents and families to ensure that working smoke alarms are present on each floor of their home, and a carbon monoxide alarm is on the same level as any sleeping rooms. It also reminds you to keep cooking areas clear of combustibles, and check that everyone knows the designated meeting place outside. If you identify any concerns with your smoke or carbon monoxide alarms, you can contact Grey Highlands Fire and Emergency Services to assist in repairing or replacing the devices.

Take the survey today!

 Smoke Alarms

During a fire, there is no time to spare. Fires can spread (doubling in size) in as little as thirty seconds. Every second counts. Smoke alarms are designed to provide early detection and warning, often activating within fifteen seconds after the presence of smoke or heat. Installing working smoke alarms in your home can double your chances of survival in a residential fire. Most importantly, it’s the LAW.

  • Install a smoke alarm on every level of your home and outside bedrooms (newer homes also require smoke alarms inside bedrooms)
  • Test your smoke alarm monthly to ensure it is working
  • If you've been away from the house (on vacation) test your alarms upon returning (the batteries could have stopped working while you were away)
  • Replace the batteries at daylight savings (Spring and Fall)  
  • Alarms expire every 10 years (see alarm replacement section below)

Smoke Alarm Factsheet

 Carbon Monoxide (CO) Alarms

Do I Need A Carbon Monoxide Alarm?  

If you have fuel burning appliance (such as a fireplace or furnace), or if you have an attached garage, the Ontario Fire Code requires you to install and maintain a carbon monoxide alarm. Carbon monoxide alarms provide the only warning of dangerous carbon monoxide gases in your home.

Where Should I Install a CO Alarm?

CO alarms should be installed outside of all sleeping quarters in the home. This way the alarm is audible to alert occupants when they are asleep. For optimum protection, it is recommended that additional CO alarms are placed on other levels or areas of the home in proximity to a CO source. Check alarm manufacturer guidelines for the appropriate distance.  

What is Carbon Monoxide (CO)?

Carbon monoxide is often referred to as the “Silent Killer” since it's an invisible, odorless, and lethal gas.

Carbon monoxide is produced through the incomplete combustion of fuel burning appliances. It enters the body through respiration, where it is filtered by your lungs and enters the bloodstream. From there it passes through the body and prevents the flow of oxygen to the heart, brain, and other vital organs, slowly shutting them down.

Symptoms of CO Poisoning:

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include: headaches, nausea or other flu like symptoms, and confusion and drowsiness that improves when away from the home for a period of time. Continued exposure may result in unconsciousness, brain damage and even death. If your alarm sounds, or occupants experience any of the following symptoms, evacuate the home and call 9-1-1.

Carbon Monoxide Factsheet

 Alarm Replacement

Did you know alarms expire? Don't Wait! Check the Date!

Smoke alarms must be replaced every 10 years, while carbon monoxide alarms have an expiry date of 5-7 years from date of manufacture. Check the back or side of your alarm for the expiry date. Refer to manufacturers guidelines for proper maintenance and installation.

Expired hardwired alarms must be replaced with another hardwired alarm.

Smoke alarm expiry factsheet

What is the proper way for me to dispose of my old smoke alarms?

Smoke alarms from households, containing not more than 185 kilobequerels (kBq) or 5 microcurries (uCi) of americium 241, are classified as domestic waste. A typical smoke alarm contains approximately 33.3 kBq (0.9 uCi) of americium 241. Homeowners should dispose of smoke alarms that are at the end of their useful life with their regular waste. This is in line with the provisions of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission’s (CNSC) Nuclear Substances and Radiation Devices Regulations and the Ministry of the Environment’s Regulation 347 General – Waste Management.

If household smoke alarms are collected in larger amounts or contain radium (this will be indicated on the smoke alarm) contact the CNSC at 1-800-668-5284 to determine the proper disposal procedure.

Fireworks Safety 

Fireworks can be extremely dangerous if used improperly. It is recommended that residents use extreme care and follow these safety tips should they choose to produce their own fireworks display:

  • An adult should be responsible for setting off the fireworks
  • Purchase your fireworks from a reliable source (a licensed retailer)
  • Read and follow directions on the label carefully
  • Never experiment or make your own fireworks
  • Light fireworks individually (one at a time)
  • Keep water close by
  • Discharge fireworks away from buildings, trees, and dry grass
  • Dispose of used fireworks properly by soaking in water and then disposing them in a trashcan
  • Never give fireworks to children (this includes sparklers- as they become extremely hot and may cause burns)
  • Never throw or point fireworks at other people
  • The fireworks operator should always wear eye protection, and refrain from having any body part over the firework
  • Keep onlookers a safe distance away and upwind from the area that the fireworks are discharged from

Despite following the above mentioned precautions, fireworks are not always 100% safe. Instead of lighting your own fireworks, Grey Highlands Fire and Emergency Services recommend attending a professionally organized fireworks event, such as the Priceville Canada Day or Feversham Fireworks celebration

Fireworks Safety Info Sheet 


 Cooking/BBQ Safety

Cooking Safety:

Leaving a pot on the stove could burn more than just your dinner. According to the OFMEM, the leading cause of residential fires is due to cooking (approximately 22% of all fires start in the kitchen). If you are cooking, stay in the kitchen. If you become distracted, or must answer the door or phone, turn off elements on the stove. Keep combustibles (anything that burns) away from the stovetop (including dishtowels, recipe books, paper towels, cardboard food boxes, pot holders etc.). If a fire starts on the stovetop, put a tight fitting lid on it or use a fire extinguisher. Never put water on a grease fire! If a fire starts in the microwave or stove keep the door closed, and turn off the appliance.   

Cooking Safety Factsheet  

BBQ Safety:

Barbecuing is one of the great pleasures of summer. Before you fire it up for the first time this follow the manufacturer’s instructions and the recommendations below:

To ensure your barbecue is ready for grilling season, the Technical Standards and Safety Authority recommends making this three-step safety check part of your spring-cleaning routine:

  1. CLEAN: use a pipe cleaner or wire to make sure the burner ports are free of rust, dust, dirt, spider webs or other debris.
  2. CHECK: examine the hose leading from the fuel supply to the burners. Replace if cracked or damaged.
  3. TEST: find leaks by applying a 50/50 solution of water and dish soap to all fuel and hose connections. If bubbles appear, tighten the connections and/or replace the damaged parts and always re-test.

Barbecues are designed for outdoor use only. If used in an enclosed space, carbon monoxide (an odourless, colourless, poisonous gas) could accumulate reaching dangerous exposure levels, which can lead to serious health effects, or even death.

BBQ Safety Factsheet

 Smoking Safety

 According to the OFMEM smoking accounts for 8% of all residential fires. Encourage smokers to "get their butt outside." If they must smoke in the house encourage smokers to use large deep ashtrays that cannot be knocked over. Empty ashes in a metal container (not the garbage) and place outside. Never smoke in bed.

Smoking Safety Fact Sheet 

 Holiday Fire Safety

Prevention is your best defense against residential fires. By practicing fire safety, we can all enjoy a safe and happy holiday season.

How Can I Protect My Family During the Holidays?

  • Look while you cook! Stay in the kitchen while cooking, if you must leave the kitchen turn off the stove
  • Get your butt outside! Smoking is the leading cause of fatal fires during the holidays. All too often alcohol is also involved. If you must smoke indoors, butt out cigarettes in a large deep ashtray and wet cigarette butts before discarding
  • If you drink, drink responsibly. Keep an eye on those consuming alcohol, encourge them to smoke outside and avoid using the stove
  • Ensure there are working smoke alarms installed on every level of your home and outside all sleeping areas. In a fire there is no time to spare, early detection is key!  
  • Install a carbon monoxide alarm outside sleeping areas of your home  
  • Practice a home escape plan with everyone in the home. Have two ways out of every room, if possible. Make sure someone is responsible for helping young children, older adults or people with disabilities to leave the home. Choose a meeting place outside where everyone can be accounted for

Holiday Fire Safety Tips

 Farm Fire Safety

Farm fire safety has become a growing concern. In 2014 the Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management (OFMEM) reported 150 fires in barns housing animals or containing farm equipment. The total reported loss was more than $28 million. As a result of recent agricultural fire loss Grey Highlands Fire and Emergency Services along with Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management (OFMEM) would like to remind residents that they can play an important role in preventing agricultural fire loss by actively promoting fire safety on farms and agricultural business property.

Several resources concerning farm safety are available for the public including:

 Electrical Fire Safety

Electrical distribution equipment is the 4th leading cause of residential fires with the average dollar loss totaling approximately $73,000. Follow the link to learn more about electrical fire safety.

9-Volt Battery Safety 

9-Volt batteries power our smoke alarms, household items and toys. They can be found in most homes. But these batteries can be a fire hazard if not stored safely or disposed of with care. Follow the link to learn more about safe disposal of 9V batteries. 

Contact Us

© 2023 Municipality of Grey Highlands |
Office Location:
206 Toronto Street South Unit 1, Markdale |
Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 409 Markdale, Ontario N0C 1H0

Office Hours:
Mon. to Fri. 8:30 am to 4:30 pm |
Toll Free: 1-888-342-4059 |
Fax: 519-986-3643 |