It's been a busy month for the city of Steinbach Fire Department and Fire Chief Kel Toews says, there are always things we could be doing to keep ourselves and our homes as safe as possible.  

Here are some mid-winter check-up suggestions from Toews who says, he would “just like to remind people and make sure people are staying safe.”

Steinbach Fire Chief Kel Toews Steinbach Fire Chief Kel Toews 


“Well, you know we’ve got a cold snap coming up again, so check your extension cord, if you're plugging in your vehicle. How many times have you backed out without unplugging it? That puts a strain on the cord. you might have exposed wires and that’s not good for the cord. So, if the wires are showing somewhere, it's time to replace it.” 

Toews notes that many people don’t realize that once an extension cord has been stretched, some of the wires inside the cord could have been broken and the strands are not connected anymore. “There are lots of things that can go wrong. Maybe you don't have enough gauge of wire for the amount of current going through it. Another thing, once you're plugging in your car, make sure you're not parked on top of it because that creates a pinch point. So, lots of risks. You get resistance heating there, and it could also start a fire.”

Smoke Detector


Toews says, a homeowner should have changed the battery when they changed the clocks in November, “but a regular test is a good idea. They've all got a test button. Test them.” 


“Another thing that I would encourage everyone to do is take a walk. When's the last thing you took a walk around the house? Check the vents for your furnace. Make sure they're not blocked. If they're blocked, your furnace isn't working like it should and could be creating carbon monoxide. And again, if you’ve got an older home, make sure you have got a carbon monoxide detector. Most newer homes all come with them. But for older homes, make sure you've got a carbon monoxide detector, even if it's a plug-in type, that you buy at the hardware store.” 

Toews says, for residents living in older homes and you have a plug-in detector, “unplug them and take a look at the back. There is an expiry date on it and if it’s past its expiry date, it might not be working as it should.”

Unburied Vents help fresh air flow into the houseUnburied Vents help fresh air flow into the house


“Check your dryer vent. Make sure it's not plugged with snow or ice and make sure it's not plugged with lint. Lint is very flammable. And if your dryer vent is plugged and it’s not cleaned, the heat will build up in your vent and you could be asking for a dryer fire.” 


With the cold weather in the forecast, Toews reminds us to make sure we can survive in our car in case we are stranded.

"When is the last time you checked your Survival kit in your vehicle? Is that up to date? Are there expired items in there?”  

“In general, walk around the house, check your vehicles, make sure you're prepared for another month and 1/2 of this weather.” 


*With files from Michelle Sawatzky.