Raising Awareness About Balcony Fires in Multifamily Buildings

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Since 2010, the inappropriate discarding of smoking materials has caused more than $46-million in damages across Edmonton and displaced countless residents from multifamily buildings for extended periods of time. Perhaps the most notable areas of concern are the balconies of apartment or condominium complexes.

The “Stub it Right, Don’t Ignite” Campaign

Most commonly, outside fires have been ignited on balconies due to the improper disposal of smoking materials in planter pots or other unsuitable receptacles. These fires can spread rapidly throughout the building and the end result is often significant and often devastating damage. It is now more important than ever to raise awareness about straightforward and effective practices that will help prevent these fires from starting in the first place. Stub it Right, Don’t Ignite is an essential life and property saving campaign initiated by Edmonton Fire Rescue Services (EFRS).

As one of the top causes of fires in Alberta, the improper disposal of smoking materials causes devastating property damage and poses a significant threat to public safety. Edmonton Fire Rescue Services has launched the “Stub it Right, Don’t Ignite” campaign with the goal of helping prevent fires caused by improperly disposed smoking material. They are asking the residents of Edmonton to work together to protect the life, belongings, and environment of our city.

According to the Alberta Fire Code (AFC) it is the property owner or agent’s responsibility to maintain their properties. Edmonton Fire Rescue Services is asking property owners and agents to voluntarily determine if each balcony of their building will be considered a smoking or a non-smoking area.

  • On balconies deemed smoking areas, Edmonton Fire Rescue Services is encouraging owners and agents provide an ashtray. EFRS recommends these ashtrays be weather resistant enclosed receptacles, designed for smoking materials.
  • On balconies deemed non-smoking areas, Edmonton Fire Rescue Services is encouraging owners or agents to install a “No Smoking” sign or decal where it can be seen in plain sight.

Dispose of Smoking Material Properly

Citizens who smoke can help save lives, property and the environment by always using an ashtray to extinguish their cigarettes:

  • Always extinguish smoking materials in deep, non-combustible ashtrays.
  • Make sure that matches and cigarette butts in ashtrays are wet before you put them in a garbage container.
  • Never extinguish smoking materials in plant pots.
  • Never discard smoking materials on the ground.
  • Keep lighters, matches and cigarettes out of the reach of children.

Remember, cigarettes and other smoking materials that are not properly extinguished can smoulder unnoticed for days before igniting a fire. The truth is that regardless of how they start they are almost always preventable.

Does my smoking material receptacle meet the recommendations?

Smoking material receptacles must be:

  • Designed for the exterior of buildings.
  • Covered to prevent embers from blowing out of the container.
  • Built of non-combustible materials.
  • Free standing or wall mounted.

Looking to hire a licensed property management company? 

Braden Equities Inc. has been successfully managing multifamily buildings in Edmonton since the 1970s. A lot has changed since then, but our commitment to the residents living in each building we manage has not. Contact us today.

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