Prevention and safety

Waterloo Fire Rescue provides fire safety and prevention services for home, work and educational environments. If you are interested in having a public education officer come to your organization or school, contact 519-884-2121 x 23309.


Waterloo Fire Rescue door knocks on 4,500 homes a year to educate residents on fire safety. The program reminds people to check smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, and have a fire escape plan.

Every October, we participate in Fire Prevention Week. Each year has an annual theme to educate children to recognize fire hazards, listen for alarms and escape a fire safely. 


While our educational programs are mostly in person, find some basic safety tips below. The Ontario Fire Marshal website has more information.

Smoke alarms

A working smoke alarm can save your life.

It's the law in Ontario to have a working smoke alarm on every floor in a home and outside all sleeping areas.

Tips for best smoke alarm use:

  • when installing smoke alarms refer to the manufacturer's instructions for best placement
  • test your smoke alarm every month using the test button
  • replace smoke alarm batteries once a year or whenever you hear the low-battery chirp
  • smoke alarms don't last forever, replace them within the time frame advised by the manufacture, typically within ten years

For more information reach out to our fire prevention office or visit the Ontario Fire Marshall site.

Carbon monoxide alarms

It is the law now to have a carbon monoxide alarm if your home has a fuel-fire appliance, garage or fire place. Many households have 4 - 6 appliances that produce carbon monoxide, but there are safety precautions to ensure a healthy home. These appliances range from a furnace, water heater, fireplace, dryer, barbecue and stove.

Here are tips to ensure a safe home:

  • get an annual inspection for all fuel-burning appliances in your home
  • ensure that outside furnace vents are not blocked
  • never use portable fuel-burning appliances in encloses space
  • install carbon monoxide alarms next to sleeping areas if you have a fuel-burning appliance or attached garage
  • if you live in a condo, a carbon monoxide alarm should be installed next to, above and below the service room as well as garage, and where a fire-burning appliance is located

For more information visit COsafety for more information.

Develop a fire plan

A home fire escape plan could save your life. It is important to know to do when the smoke alarm sounds. Below are the steps for the a fire safety plan:

  1. develop a home fire escape plan - know what to do when the smoke alarm sounds
  2. practise your escape plan
  3. make sure everyone know two way out of each room, if possible
  4. help those who need it - who will help children, older adults and anyone with a disability
  5. get low and go - under the smoke and to the nearest safe exit
  6. choose a meeting place outside - a safe distance from your home
  7. get out, stay out - never re-enter a burning building

Kitchen & barbecue safety 

Leaving cooking unattended is the number one cause of home fires. The tips below will help reduce the risk of kitchen fires:

  • stay in the kitchen when cooking, especially if using oil or cooking at high temperatures
  • keep items such as cooking utensils, dishcloths, paper towels and pot holders away from heat
  • keep children away from cooking areas and turn pot handles inwards
  • do not wear loose fitting clothing as it is easier to catch fire - stop, drop and roll if your clothing catches fire
  • enjoy a drink while eating the meal, not preparing the meal as many fatal fires occur when people are impaired

Barbecue safety:

  • open the lid when lighting the barbecue with a match
  • keep the barbecue away from combustible items and never keep it in a garage
  • store propane cylinders in upright and well-ventilated areas
  • check the fitting that connects the barbecue hose is not cracked or bent
  • propane cylinders must be re certified every 10 years
  • charcoal barbecues are not permitted in the City of Waterloo

About Waterloo Fire Rescue

We typically respond to fires, emergency medical incidents, car accidents and dangerous chemical incidents.

Our motto is "shaping our fire safe community." We lead through education and prevention services, standards and enforcement and emergency response.

We respond to about 6,000 calls a year, 60% of which are emergency medical or first-response cases, with an average response time of four to five minutes.

Connect with Waterloo Fire Rescue on Twitter.