Nanoose Volunteer Fire Department

Safety Tips

Prepare for Wildfires

Individual homeowners and wider communities can take simple steps to reduce the impact of wildfire. The time to reduce the threat of wildfire is now, not when a fire is at your doorstep. Be proactive, be practical, and be FireSmart.

Wildfires are unpredictable, but you can take steps to create defensible space around your home to reduce an approaching wildfire’s volatility. Take a wildfire safety quiz, assess your home’s structural and site hazards, and learn the steps you can take to reduce your home’s succeptibility to fire. Find out how here.

Making a Fire Safety Plan

Fires can happen quickly. Prepare your family ahead of time by creating and practicing a fire safety plan:

  • Plan an escape route. Identify 2 exits from each room. Discuss the routes & options.
  • Teach children how to extinguish a fire, crawl under smoke and make an escape.
  • Select a meeting point outside of your home. When 2 people are out call 911.
  • Be prepared – practice with your fire alarm ringing.
  • For more info call the firehall or visit

Smoke Alarm Advice

Smoke alarms save lives. Almost two-thirds of home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms. When there is a fire, smoke spreads fast and you need smoke alarms to give you time to get out.

  • Test alarms at least monthly by pushing the test button.
  • Replace batteries in all smoke alarms at least once a year. If an alarm “chirps”, warning the battery is low, replace the battery right away.
  • Install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each separate sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement. Interconnect all smoke alarms throughout the home. When one sounds, they all sound.


Emergency Scene Identification

As emergency responders we are occasionally called multiple times to the same incident scene by the public. Or the public might assume we have already been called to an incident.

To reduce confusion we are now marking checked emergency scenes using yellow bags with a large Yellow Tick.

How To Avoid Chimney Fires

A wood burning fireplace or stove causes creosote to accumulate within a chimney – increasing the chance of chimney fire. Regular maintenance should include:

  • Capping the chimney to prevent nesting.
  • Regular professional inspection.
  • Installing proper equipment (stove and flue).
  • Using a professional chimney sweep.
  • Building smaller, hotter fires – use dry wood.
  • Regularly stoking your fire – increased airflow reduces creosote formation.

Using a Fire Extinguisher

Many small fires can be quickly extinguished with the use of a portable fire extinguisher:

  • Check extinguisher is the right type for the situation (check label):
    • A for combustibles.
    • B for liquids & gases.
    • C for electrical.
  •  P.A.S.S.:
    • Hold upright, “P”ull ring pin.
    • Start back 20 feet, “A”im at base of fire.
    • “S”queeze lever.
    • “S”weep side to side.
  • Remember, extinguishers have limited capacity; avoid wastage.
  • Be safe: call 911.

First Responder Medical

As well as fire fighters we also provide a First Responder service to aid in medical emergencies. You may see us showing up to a scene in blue coveralls. Top tips for Nanoosians to assist us:

  • Always pull over if you see lights and/or hear sirens.
  • Have a current list of your medicines & medical conditions.
  • Have your Care Card available.

Never Put Water On A Grease Fire

Grease fires are very dangerous and should not be extinguished with water (which will make things worse by splashing the oil and enraging the fire). The safest and quickest way is to smother the fire. After calling 911, and if the fire is very small, you may wish to try:

  •  A lid that fits over the frying pan.
  •  Small Fire Extinguisher (Class B) – stand a few feet back and spray carefully.
  •  Large damp towel over the frying pan (run under the tap and wring out excess first).

Motor Vehicle Act Regulation

A new regulation under the Motor Vehicle Act requires drivers to slow to prescribed maximum speeds when approaching, from either direction, a stopped emergency vehicle that’s on or beside an undivided highway and has its lights flashing. (If the highway is divided – for example, by a concrete median – vehicles travelling in the opposite direction are not required to slow.)

In addition, drivers travelling in a lane containing or adjacent to a stopped emergency vehicle must move into another lane to pass, if it is safe to do so and a police officer has not directed them to do otherwise. This will give emergency workers as much space as possible.

Source: Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General

Snow & Ice Driving Safety Tips

In preparation towards winter driving conditions, here are some basic tips for Nanoosians while on the roads:

  • Be cautious. Slowing down to at least 15 kph under the speed limit is advisable.
  • Be smooth. Reduce speed before entering a corner and avoid sharp controls.
  • Be informed. Understand your vehicle’s weight distribution and traction.
  • Be safe. Drive on winter safe tires and keep your distance at all times.

Propane Storage Advice

Propane is a colourless gas with a faint odour at high concentrations. Fuel grades have a disagreeable odour to aid in the detection of leaks. Propane is an extremely flammable compressed gas, is heavier than air and may spread long distances so distant ignition and flashback are possible.

  • All propane cylinders, full or empty, must be stored in an upright position.
  • Store outside in a shady protected area, a minimum of one metre from any combustible material.
  • To check for leaks use a mixture of liquid soap and water to ensure that all fittings and connections are tight.
  • Do not dispose propane cylinders into household garbage.

Fire Retardant Christmas Tree

No fire-proofing technique works 100% of the time, but this recipe to make a living tree fire retardant has worked well in the past. Share it with your friends and neighbors. Follow the directions carefully. This solution comes from various sources, including the U.S. Army Safety Office.


  • Two cups of corn syrup
  • Two ounces of chlorine bleach
  • Two teaspoons of Epsom salt
  • One-half teaspoon of Borax
  • One teaspoon of chelated iron (Can be found at nurseries, garden centers, and in pill form at pharmacies)
  • Hot water


  1. Mix all ingredients listed above. Fill a two-gallon bucket with hot water to within one inch of the top and add the ingredients. Stir thoroughly, dissolving ingredients.
  2. Make a fresh cut at the base on the tree trunk. Cut an inch off the base of the tree.
  3. Immediately stand the trunk of the tree in the solution and leave for 24 hours.
  4. Keep the remaining solution. Place your tree in a tree stand that contains a well where liquids can be poured.
  5. When the tree is in its final resting place, use a plastic cup to pour solution from the bucket into the tree well. Fill the well.
  6. Fill the tree stand well with the solution everyday.

How does it work? The syrup provides the food necessary to allow the base of the tree to take up water. As much as 1 ½ gallons of water can be taken up by the tree over a two-week period. Boron in the Borax allows the tree to move the water and sugar out to every branch and needle in your tree. Magnesium compounds in the Epsom salt and iron from the chelated iron provide essential components for the production of chlorophyll which will keep the tree green. The bleach prevents mold from forming in your solution. The solution will also help with needle drop and increase the pine fragrance of the tree.