• The Haldimand County Fire Department is urging everyone not to forget about fire safety throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. As people find themselves spending more time at home for work, self-isolation, or practicing physical distancing, they should remember the importance of preventing home fires.Along with other essential services, the fire department has had to implement safeguards and physical distancing protocols in the workplace. Residents of Haldimand County are advised of the following changes to fire department services during the COVID-19 pandemic response: 
    • Haldimand County Fire Department is only responding to critical medical calls during the pandemic, in order to keep our firefighters safe and able to respond to other significant emergencies (ex. fires, MVCs, and rescues).
    • Response times should not be affected, however, Fire Dispatch is required to ask mandatory COVID-19 screening questions to relay to responding firefighters.
    • If residents are concerned about open air fires in their area, they should call 911 and the fire department will respond. If the burn is outside of the regulations of the burn by-law or there is no burn permit, charges could be laid. All other complaints are to be made through the County’s Fire Prevention Bureau at 905-318-5932.
    • All Fire Stations and Headquarters are closed to the public.
    Fire Chief Jason Gallagher is also urging the public to remain vigilant in the ongoing battle to prevent unintentional fires and injuries by practicing fire prevention and fire safety during these extraordinary times. “Regardless of the circumstances, additional time at home with family members provides an excellent opportunity to discuss fire safety and review your home fire escape plan,” says Gallagher.Here are some simple things that people can do to protect themselves and their families: 
    • Test smoke and carbon monoxide alarms using the test button. If the alarm fails to sound, check and replace batteries if necessary. Make sure everyone knows the sound of the alarms.
    • Develop or review your home fire escape plan to make sure everyone in the household knows what to do if a fire occurs. Make sure to designate someone to help older adults, children, and anyone else who may need help to escape.
    • Use care when using and recharging electronic devices such as laptops, tablets, or mobile devices. Check electrical cords and charge cables to ensure they are in good condition. Don’t overload electrical circuits. Avoid placing electronics on soft surfaces like beds or upholstered furniture when recharging to avoid the risk of overheating.
    As the Haldimand County Fire Departmentcontinues to do their best to keep the community safe under these extraordinary circumstances, it is imperative that the public does all that they can to practice fire safety in the home and take the necessary steps to protect themselves and their families from the risk of fire and carbon monoxide poisoning.For more information about fire safety, contact Haldimand County Fire Department or visit the County’s fire safety website at https://www.haldimandcounty.ca/fire-services/.