Fire Safety and Prevention

Recognizing potential threats and empowering ourselves with the right knowledge and tools makes our community safer for everyone. Discover more fire prevention and safety tips below.


Fire Prevention

Fire prevention focuses on avoiding fires through safety practices, inspections and awareness of potential risks.


Kitchen fires are the number one cause of residential fires in Ontario. Here are precautions you can take to help prevent these fires from happening: 

  • Never leave cooking unattended. Stay in the kitchen while cooking and avoid cooking when tired or distracted.
  • Keep your cooking area clear. Roll up your sleeves and ensure  there are no flammable objects, such as paper towel rolls, nearby.
  • Keep a pot lid nearby. The safest way to extinguish a small kitchen fire is to smother it with a pot lid and turn it off. If the fire is in your oven or microwave, keep the door closed.
  • Do not put out kitchen fires with water. When water is poured on an oil or grease fire, it rapidly expands.


Watch this cooking safety video to learn more.


Due to the popularity of electronics, electrical fires are on the rise across Ontario. Here are tips on how to avoid them: 

  • Buy safe electrical products. Only buy electrical products from reliable sources and ensure they have a recognized Canadian approval mark, such as Underwriters Laboratory of Canada (ULC), indicating the device meets safety standards.
  • Ensure all electrical systems are installed and maintained by a qualified electrician and the size of the system meets electrical needs To reduce fire and shock hazards.
  • Don’t overload a circuit. Do not have several extenders or multiple extension cords attached as they could easily overheat.
  • Use electrical cords properly. Do not staple cords in place or run them under carpets, and do not use chords if they are damaged.
  • When using electric heaters, place them at least three feet away from combustible materials such as curtains. Ensure you plug them directly into the wall outlet and turn them off when not in use.


Watch this electrical fire safety video to learn more.


These rechargeable batteries are frequently used in cell phones, laptops and electric vehicles. To prioritize your safety when handling these batteries, ensure you use them correctly.

  • Always follow manufacturers’ guidelines when using and recharging the batteries.
  • Any chargers or batteries needing replacement should come from the original manufacturer.
  • Stop using the battery if you notice a change in colour, odour or shape, if it is producing too much heat, is leaking or making odd noises.
  • Charge your devices properly. Do not charge devices on combustible surfaces such as under your pillow and stop charging once at 100 per cent.

Improperly maintained laundry machines and dryers are one of the leading causes of home fires. Here are steps you can take to prevent this from occurring: 

  • Lint is highly flammable so ensure you clean the dryer lint filter every time you use it and clean lint out of the vent pipe at least once a year.
  • Ensure the exhaust vent outside your house is not blocked and the flaps can easily open.
  • Avoid flammable substances around laundry machines. Materials with chemicals, oil or gasoline should be line-dried and not put in the dryer. Flammable items, like liquid fabric softener should not be stored on top of the washer or dryer.


Watch this laundry safety video to learn more.


Cigarettes are one of the leading causes of residential fires, with discarded lit cigarettes being a common source of ignition. Take precautions when using them. 

  • Be sure to fully extinguish every cigarette or cigar – dispose of cigarettes in a proper ashtray that won’t tip or burn.
  • Never empty contents of an ashtray into garbage bins – this can cause a fire. Place a few drops of water in the ashtray, then leave it to cool down fully before disposing.
  • Never put cigarettes out in potted plants – fertilizer found in soil can catch fire. 
  • Never smoke around combustible materials, including bedding. It is safest to smoke outside.
  • Be alert when smoking – you will not be alert if you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol, drugs or medicine that makes you tired.


Watch this smoking safety video to learn more.


A fire burn permit is required  or any open-air burning in Vaughan. Before applying for the permit, read the City’s Burn Permit By-law (PDF) to ensure burning a fire in your area is allowed and that a fire burn ban is not in effect. Keep safety top of mind as well. 

  • Chimineas and enclosed fires do not require a permit but should not be used during high winds.
  • Keep all combustible materials at least three metres away from the outdoor fire.
  • Avoid burning on a wood deck or ensure there is appropriate insulating material between the deck and fire.
  • When using a barbecue, ensure it is in good condition and free from rust, dirt or debris. Remember to always clean out the grease trap and keep combustibles far away.

To operate fireworks on any day other than Victoria Day or Canada Day, you must submit a Fireworks Display Permit Application (PDF) with a site drawing to Ensure you’re familiar with the do’s and don’ts of fireworks before using them: 

  • Always buy fireworks from a reliable source and follow the label’s directions.
  • Operate fireworks outdoors and in an area at least 30 metres by 30 metres. Ensure the area is clear of all obstructions, such as overhead wires and trees.
  • Wear eye protection when lighting fireworks and always keep a bucket of water or a hose nearby.
  • Have fireworks in a bucket of sand when igniting.
  • Dispose of fireworks responsibly by soaking them in a container of water overnight.


Watch this firework safety video to learn more.

Fire Protection

Fire protection aims to reduce the risk of fires by using safety measures, like fire-resistant materials and detection systems.

  • Location: One on every floor of your home and outside or in all sleeping areas. Alarms should be installed on the ceiling for best detection and away from ceiling fans and windows.
  • Types: Best protection comes from getting a combination “ionization photoelectric alarm.” Hardwired interconnected alarms are best and are required in all new builds. Battery operated are acceptable in older homes. Check for a standards testing logo such as Underwriter Laboratories of Canada (ULC) or the Canadian Standards Association (CSA).
  • Maintenance: You should test your smoke alarms monthly and replace them every 10 years.

Watch our smoke alarm video to learn more.


CO is a colourless, odourless, tasteless gas that can be harmful or fatal when inhaled. CO can enter your home through malfunctioning gas appliances such as furnaces, water heaters and stoves. Watch our CO alarms video to learn more.

  • Location: CO alarms must be installed outside every sleeping area. For additional protection, install one on each level of your house. 
  • Types: Stand-alone plug-in alarms and combination CO/smoke alarms are both effective. 
  • Maintenance: You should test your CO alarms every month, replace the batteries at least once a year and replace the alarm according to the manufacturer’s instructions (usually every five to 10 years).
  • When to use: Only use portable fire extinguishers for small fires and ensure the personal handling the extinguishers understands how to use it properly. Before acting, confirm everyone has evacuated the area, 911 has been called and there is a clear exit path for your safety.
  • How to use: Stand approximately three meters from the fire and follow the acronym "PASS." 
    • P - Pull the pin. The pin is there as a safeguard and locks the handle; pulling it out activates the extinguisher for use.
    • A - Aim low. The hose or nozzle should be pointed at the base of the fire to put it out.
    • S - Squeeze the lever above the handle. This will shoot the extinguishing substance from the hose or nozzle. Remember that most small extinguishers will run out of their extinguishing agent in 10 to 25 seconds.
    • S - Sweep from side to side and move slowly toward the fire. Keep the hose or nozzle aimed at the base of the fire. If the flames appear out, release the handle and watch closely. If the fire reignites again, repeat the process.
  • Types: There are three main types of portable fire extinguishers:
    • Type A fire extinguishers should be used on ordinary combustibles such as paper, wood and cloth. Never use a Type A extinguisher on flammable liquids. This is likely to spread the fire and make it worse.
    • Type B fire extinguishers should be used on flammable liquids, gasoline, cooking oils or fats, oil-based paint and kerosene.
    • Type C fire extinguishers should be used on electrical equipment, wall outlets, power cords, small/large appliances, wiring and fuse boxes.
  • Maintenance: Once a month, inspect your fire extinguisher for damage and make sure it is properly charged as per manufacturer’s instructions. If the extinguisher has been used, it must be recharged by a professional. 

Learn more by watching our fire extinguisher video.


Until there is a product that has met certified safety standards, VFRS does not recommend fire blankets.  

Fire Safety Planning

Fire safety planning involves creating organized strategies, such as evacuation plans and communication protocols, to respond effectively in the event of a fire.

  • Fire happens fast! When your smoke alarm goes off, there is little time for you and your family to exit safely. A step-by-step escape plan can help you and your family remain calm and get outside safely. 
  • A home escape plan should include multiple planned exits from each room and an outdoor meeting place to ensure everyone has exited safely.
  • Regularly ensure all escape routes are clear and accessible in case of fire.
  • Review and practice your escape plan with every family member at least twice a year. This will help everyone feel prepared and calm in case of fire.
  • Remind young children not to hide when they hear the smoke alarm and to never go back in the house if there is a fire.
  • If you, or someone in your home are unable to exit independently in case of fire due to mobility, communication or other challenges, sign up for the City’s Vulnerable Person’s Registry. 


Watch our home escape plan video to learn more.


If a fire starts in your home, remain calm, then get out and stay out

  • If fire is suspected, check all closed doors before opening them. Do so by carefully touching the door and knob with the back of your hand. If you feel heat or see smoke through the cracks, use an alternative escape route, if possible. 
  • Smoke is toxic and rises, leaving cleaner air on the ground. If you need to move through smoke when exiting, crawling and/or staying close to the ground is the safest way to do so. 
  • Always close doors behind you as you leave to slow the spread of the fire.
  • Only call 9-1-1 after you have exited your home safely. 
  • If you live in an apartment or condo, never use elevators to escape. Use the stairways instead, ensuring they are free from smoke before descending.
  • If you're stuck at home during a fire, close doors and block smoke by placing something at the bottom (like a rolled-up towel). Call 9-1-1, tell them your location and explain that you cannot leave safely.

Contact Information

Vaughan Fire and Rescue Service

Joint Operations Centre
2800 Rutherford Rd.
Vaughan, ON L4K 2N9

Mailing Address

Vaughan City Hall
2141 Major Mackenzie Dr.
Vaughan, ON L6A 1T1