The surge in people working from home has brought an increase in home cooking fires – Ontario alone saw a 65% increase in fatal home fires since January compared to this time frame in 2019. Similar increases are being seen across the country and the numbers are alarming. This applies not just to single-family homes, but also to condominium buildings and multi-tenant buildings.
“You are seeing a spike in residential fires in condos and rental units because people are at home more and cooking more,” said Jeff McCann, CEO of Apollo Insurance Solutions Ltd., in a recent interview with Canadian Underwriter.
Since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic this past March by the World Health Organization, millions of Canadians who normally work from their office have been working from home.
Some get distracted when they are trying to cook, said Michele Farley, president of FCS Fire Consulting Services Ltd. “Some people are putting cardboard in ovens and putting items such as metal in the microwave oven that should not be there. One fire department has advised consumers to take their pizza out of the box before heating it.”
At a time like this, it is critical to share fire safety reminders:
- Ensure all occupants know what to do in case of emergency;
- Have a plan to escape from a fire and a pre-arranged meeting place outside;
- Always be alert when cooking;
- Only smoke outdoors; and
- Always use a safe method of extinguishing cigarette butts – such as putting them in an ashtray and not discarding cigarette buts in a planter.
About 4.7 million Canadians who do not usually work from home did so during the week of March 22 to 28, Statistics Canada reported earlier. When those who usually work from home were included in the statistics, 39.1% of the labour force, which is 6.8 million Canadians, worked from home that week.
Learn more about how to how to prevent and be prepared for a house fire.
Source: Canadian Underwriter