Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit Barrie Office
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Current   2018   2017 

Take smoking outside to prevent fires and drifting smoke

Oct 05, 2017
SIMCOE MUSKOKA – If you need a push to help you decide it’s time to quit smoking consider this – smoking and smoking materials are the number one cause of fatal home fires in Ontario.

Fire Prevention Week is Oct. 8-14 

SIMCOE MUSKOKA – If you need a push to help you decide it’s time to quit smoking consider this – smoking and smoking materials are the number one cause of fatal home fires in Ontario. Fatalities which, like tobacco-related deaths, are totally preventable.

The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit is partnering with the fire prevention community this year to mark Fire Prevention Week October 8-14 and to share information to keep families and individuals safe and healthy.

Barrie’s Deputy Fire Chief Jeff Weber sees firsthand the damage and loss of life caused by smoking. His safety message is clear – quit smoking to protect yourself or your family. But if you are not ready to quit yet, take your smoking outdoors and be sure to dispose of your lit materials safely.

“A full 27% of the fires that occurred in Barrie in 2016 were caused by smoking and lighting materials and they accounted for almost a million dollars in lost contents and property,” said Deputy Fire Chief Weber.

“An ash or ember from a cigarette can smolder for up to three hours before flames are visible,” he said, adding that children playing with smoking materials such as matches and lighters also cause too many fires.

The health unit is urging all residents -- no matter what type of housing they live in -- to make their homes smoke free and to ensure anyone who smokes does so outside and away from doors and windows where the hazardous secondhand smoke can drift back inside.

“This includes people who live in apartments and condominiums,” said Leslie Gordon, the health unit’s tobacco-free living coordinator. “You can’t prevent smoke from drifting between units in multi-unit housing through ventilation systems, cracks, receptacles, balconies, doors or windows. That means a person who is smoking is sharing the deadly toxins with others around them.

“Before you rent or buy check to make sure your new building has a No Smoking policy that will protect you, your children and even your pets,” Gordon said. “If the building you live in doesn’t yet have a No Smoking policy, talk to your landlord about getting one put in place so that as new tenants move in the building will transition to smoke free.

“We have great resources to help tenants and landlords get started on making their building No Smoking, and why wouldn’t you? It’s healthy, legal and smoke-free housing is in demand!”

Deputy Chief Weber says smoking outdoors is an important first step to prevent a fire at home but he warns it’s vital to make sure you safely dispose of the cigarettes and matches.

“Use a fireproof bucket or container that has sand or water in it to make sure the cigarettes are fully extinguished.  Never throw your butts in a garden or flower bed where there can be mulch or other flammable materials that can start a fire.”

Other tips to keep families safe and healthy from smoking-related fires:

  • Commit to quit smoking – the health unit has free workshops and self-help materials to support you.
  • Don’t smoke around others or anywhere where the air is shared.
  • Be sure to keep matches and lighters away from children – out of sight and reach.
  • If you smoke make sure all butts and ashes are fully out before you dispose of them.
  • Never smoke in bed, in a home where oxygen is used, or when under the influence of alcohol or medications that can cause drowsiness.

For more information visit the health unit’s website at or call Health Connection at 705-721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520 weekdays 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.



Six reasons to make your home smoke free:

If you are a tenant

  • Protection from secondhand smoke for the entire family
  • Removes the risk of smoking related fires – No.1 cause of preventable home fire deaths
  • Supports healthy lifestyle.


If you are a Landlord, Condo Owner

  • Cost to refurbish a smoke-free unit is lower
  • Reduced fire risk for tenants and protects your property investment
  • Better resale values, larger market for your properties.

Deputy Fire Chief Jeff Weber

City of Barrie Deputy Fire Chief Jeff Weber has a clear safety message for Fire Prevention Week, October 8-14.

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