Spring and Summer Fire Safety Tips

Spring and Summer Fire Safety Tips

 The Township Fire and Emergency Services Department wants to ensure that all residents are safe throughout the four seasons. In the spring and summer, there are special challenges to keeping resident's safe and protecting property. Special consideration should be made to fire safety in the house, around the BBQ, at the Campfire, and in Recreational Vehicles and Motorhomes.

In the House

  1. Test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and homeowners should change the batteries immediately if needed. For more information check out our section on smoke alarm maintenance & carbon monoxide detector maintenance.
  2. Check your fire extinguishers.
  3. Check for overloaded or damaged extension cords, replace where needed.
  4. Ensure you have an emergency preparedness kit in case of incidents such as power outages and flooding.
  5. Practice your families’ fire escape plan so everyone knows what to do in case of an emergency. Check out the section on Home Escape Plan for more information.
  6. Windows should be checked to ensure they open and close properly, in case they are needed as an exit
  7. Properly store household chemicals and never mix cleaning agents
  8. Recycle: Get rid of old newspapers, magazines and junk mail. These items tend to pile up and can greatly contribute to the severity and spread of fire.
  9. Check and clean filters above stove.
  10. Pull refrigerator out and vacuum or dust the coils.
  11. Always keep stairs and landings clear for safe evacuation in event of an emergency.

Around the House

  1. Make sure your address numbers are up and visible from the street.
  2. Maintain a clear 'fire zone' of 10' around structures
  3. Check outdoor electrical outlets and other electrical appliances for animal nests and to ensure proper wiring.
  4. Keep 100' of garden hose with an attached nozzle connected and ready for use.
  5. Remove leaves and trash from carports and garages: Combustible materials are dangerous if they are exposed to heated automobile components, especially under the vehicle.
  6. Clean up and properly store paints, pool and yard chemicals.
  7. Check fuels containers for leaks and make sure they are properly stored.
  8. Let power equipment sit for approximately 30 minutes before placing it inside to be sure there is no possibility of fire.

Campfire Safety Tips

  1.  Never build a campfire on a windy day. Sparks or embers from the fire could travel quite a distance setting an unintentional fire.
  2. Watch the wind direction to ensure sparks aren't getting on flammable materials. Put the fire out if wind changes begin to cause concern.
  3. Build campfires where they will not spread; well away from tents, trailers, dry grass, leaves, overhanging tree branches or any other combustible.
  4. Build campfires in fire pits provided or on bare rock or sand, if no fire pit is provided.
  5. Maintain a 2 to 3.5 metre (6 – 10 foot) clearance around your campfire.
  6. Build a campfire surround with rocks to contain your campfire. Be aware that rocks obtained from the river may explode due to moisture in the rock becoming superheated by the campfire.
  7. Use crumpled paper and/or kindling to start a fire rather than using flammable liquids.
  8. Never use gasoline as an aid to starting a campfire. If a fire starter is required, use only proper lighting fluid and use the lighting fluid sparingly. NEVER PUT IT ON AN OPEN FLAME since the fire can ignite the stream of lighting fluid and the flame will travel up the stream igniting the container in your hand and causing serious injury. Once the lighting fluid has been applied to the firewood, allow a few minutes for the explosive vapours to disperse before lighting. Remove the lighting fluid container a safe distance away before lighting the campfire.
  9. Secure all lighters and matches and keep them out of children’s reach.
  10. Keep campfires to a small, manageable size no more than 1 metre (3 feet) high by 1 metre (3 feet) in diameter and don't let it get out of hand.
  11. Don't burn garbage in your campfire. The smell is unpleasant for you and your neighbours, and may attract animals to your campsite.
  12. Keep all combustible materials, including flammable liquids, propane cylinders, lighting fluid, etc. away from the campfire.

BBQ Safety Tips

  1. All barbeque grills must only be used outdoors — using grills indoors or in enclosed spaces is not only a fire hazard, but it exposes occupants to toxic gasses and potential asphyxiation.
  2. Always position the grill well away from combustible objects — buildings, fences, deck railings and landscaping can easily and quickly ignite.
  3. Get your grill cleaned and serviced. Check all propane tanks and lines for leaks and damage.
  4. Never leave a lit grill unattended.
  5. Always use long handled grilling utensils and heat resistant oven mitts to avoid exposure burns from heat and flames.
  6. Periodically remove grease build-up in catch trays to prevent it from igniting.
  7. Keep a garden hose nearby, connected and ready for use in case of a fire.

Recreational Vehicle / Motorhome Safety Tips

  1. In an emergency, please make sure we can find you – SECONDS DO COUNT!When travelling in an RV, it’s crucial to know your location so emergency responders can find you in the event of an emergency. Be aware of your location and surroundings.
  2. Confirm the local emergency numbers for police, fire and ambulance – is 911 service available in the area?
  1. Most campgrounds are in more remote areas that may not provide cell phone coverage. Check your cell phone coverage.
  2. When you call 911 from a regular land phone line emergency services receive enhanced 911 data indicating the address and municipality of where the call is originating, should the caller be unable to provide this information. This enhanced 911 data is not available for cell phone calls, so ensuring everyone knows the exact location in the event of an emergency is critical in obtaining a timely response from emergency services
  3. When vacationing in an isolated area, keep in mind that help from emergency services may be some distance away. It’s vitally important that you eliminate your risk from fire and have a fire escape plan in place that everyone is familiar with and has practised. Have at least two escape routes – one in the front and one in the rear of the RV. Test all escape windows, hatches and door latches for smooth operation and keep all escape windows, hatches and doors clear of any obstructions. As soon as they are old enough, teach children how to open escape hatches and emergency exits and have them practise.
  4. The first rule of RV firefighting is to save lives first and property second. Get yourself and your family to safety before attempting to extinguish any fire. Only if you can do so without endangering yourself or others should you use firefighting aids on hand. Re-emphasize to everyone aboard that objects can be replaced, people can’t! Never re-enter a burning RV to retrieve anything –GET OUT & STAY OUT!
  5. Install and maintain at least one smoke alarm in your RV near the sleeping area. Special 12v smoke alarms, designed specifically for RVs, are available from specialized retailers. Depending on the size of your RV and placement of sleeping areas, more than one smoke alarm may be required.
  6. Install and maintain at least one carbon monoxide alarm in your RV near the sleeping area. Special 12v carbon monoxide alarms, designed specifically for RVs, are available from specialized retailers. Be aware that residential style carbon monoxide alarms that plug directly into the electrical outlet require 110v power and would only work and sound an alarm when your RV is plugged into an electrical source at a campground, but would not function when you are on the road or operating off of your 12v battery supply. Consider that some low cost detectors cause false alarms, so be sure to obtain a quality unit. Do not select a detector just on its cost. It may not be adequate to do the job that is necessary when the time comes.
  7. Install a propane leak alarm at floor level, no more than 6 inches above the floor or lowest level to alert you in the event of a propane leak. Propane gas, like gasoline fumes, tends to pool in low-lying spots and even a small spark can ignite it. If you have a leak, immediately evacuate the area and shut off the propane at the tank, if it is safe to do so.
  8. Maintain the RV’s mechanical systems, such as radiator hoses, fuel lines, brake systems, transmission, etc., in good working order to eliminate the risk of any leaks or malfunctions that may result in a fire.
  9. Ensure that the extension cord for connecting your RV to a campground’s 110v electricity supply is in good condition and of suitable gauge wire to handle the electrical load placed upon it. Damaged extension cords must be replaced immediately.
  10. Check all electrical appliances for frayed cords and any other visible.
  11. Electrical generators produce exhaust gasses, which contain carbon monoxide. It is important to have the exhaust pipes extend sufficiently past the side walls or rear of the RV so that prevailing air currents can disperse this lethal gas away from the vehicle and not have it drawn back into an open window on the RV.
  12. Ensure that you allow the generator to cool down before refuelling. Always shut off the generator and any other fuel-burning appliances.
  13. Driving with propane on can add to the danger if you are involved in an accident or have a fire. Shut off the propane at the tank and turn off all propane-powered appliances while driving. Operate your refrigerator on 12v battery power or simply leave it turned off. Most refrigerators will keep food cold or frozen for several hours, even when turned off.
  1. When refuelling the propane tanks or the RV’s fuel tank it is important to shut off all interior burners, pilot lights, appliances, automatic ignition switches, as well as the RV’s motor and have all passengers exit the vehicle

Municipal Contacts
Chief Administrative Officer (CAO)
Mary Ellen Greb
Phone: 519-485-0477 Ext. 225
Email: cao@swox.org
Lisa VanderWallen
Phone: 519-485-0477 Ext. 223
Email: clerk@swox.org
Diane Larder
Phone: 519-485-0477 Ext. 224
Email: dlarder@swox.org
Revenue Officer
Stacy Weicker
Phone: 519-485-0477 Ext. 222
Email: revenueofficer@swox.org
Chief Building Official (CBO)
Aaron Stewardson
Phone: 519-485-0477 Ext. 229 
Email: cbo@swox.org
Building Inspector
Jason Brunt
Phone: 519-485-0477 Ext. 233
Email: jbrunt@swox.org
Administrative Assistant - Building
Deb Dawson
Phone: 519-485-0477 Ext. 228
Email: building@swox.org
Development Planner
Community and Strategic Planning Office,
County of Oxford

Ron Versteegen,
Phone: 519-539-9800 Ext. 3214
Email: rversteegen@oxfordcounty.ca
By-Law Enforcement Officer
Jason Brunt
Phone: 519-485-0477 Ext. 233
Email: jbrunt@swox.org
Jason Brunt
Phone: 519-485-0477 Ext. 233
Email: jbrunt@swox.org
Diane Larder
Phone: 519-485-0477 Ext. 224
Email: dlarder@swox.org
Revenue Officer
Stacy Weicker
Phone: 519-485-0477 Ext. 222
Email: revenueofficer@swox.org
Payroll Administrator
Brooke Crane
Phone: 519-485-0477 Ext. 226
Email: payroll@swox.org
Administrative Assistant
Laura Pickersgill
Phone: 519-485-0477 Ext. 221
Email: generaladmin@swox.org
Fire Chief & CEMC
Jeff VanRybroeck
Phone: 519-485-0477 Ext. 257
Email: fireChief@swox.org
Works Superintendent
Bill Freeman
Phone: 519-485-0477 Ext. 260
Email: bfreeman@swox.org
Larry Hughes
Phone: 519-485-0477 Ext. 258
Email: lhughes@swox.org
Lead Hand
Adam Prouse
Phone: 519-485-0477 Ext. 258
Email: aprouse@swox.org
Chief Administrative Officer
Mary Ellen Greb
Phone: 519-485-0477 Ext. 225
Email: cao@swox.org
Lisa VanderWallen
Phone: 519-485-0477 Ext. 223
Email: clerk@swox.org

Township of South-West Oxford

Located in South Western Ontario, in the South West section of Oxford County and serves as a regional centre for industry, commerce and recreation.

The Township oversees 87,588 acres with a population of 7,544 and we have Canada’s busiest highway in our front yard! With a rich agricultural heritage, please stop by and enjoy our diverse Township. 

The Township’s mission is be "a leader in the development and delivery of municipal services for the growth and well being of our community"

Contact Us

312915 Dereham Line
Mt. Elgin, On N0J 1N0
Hours: Monday – Friday 
8:30 am to 4:30 pm
Phone: 519-877-2702 / 519-485-0477
Fax: 519-485-2932

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