If you live in the Edmonton area, you’ve surely seen smoking-related apartment fires pop up more frequently on the local news. So far this year, there have been more than 54 smoking-related residential fires in Edmonton, resulting in more than $19 million in damage. When you live in an apartment or condo, one carelessly discarded cigarette butt is enough to send the entire complex up in flames. Given how common these types of disasters continue to become, it’s especially important now to make sure you have adequate condo insurance or tenants insurance for your Edmonton residence.
Condo Living is Becoming Increasingly Popular
Hundreds of residential fires are caused each year in Canada by the improper disposal of smoking materials like cigarettes and cigars. These types of fires are becoming increasingly common in areas where condos are emerging as a popular, affordable alternative to buying single-family homes. Cities like Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary and Edmonton have seen a rise in smoking-related fires in residential buildings in just the last few years.
These fires often start on balconies or wooden decks with a smoker failing to discard the remainder of a cigarette in an ashtray. Often, cigarette butts will be left in flowerpots, where they can catch fire. Peat moss, which is often found in planters, is highly combustible when dry. Leftover cigarette butts also easily blow onto nearby balconies where they can ignite if they come into contact with wood, plastic furniture or cushions made from flammable materials.
One particularly devastating fire occurred just this past summer in Edmonton, when a 90-unit apartment building in Blue Quill was completely destroyed after a smoker put out a cigarette in a balcony flowerpot. Dozens of people lost their homes and all their possessions in the fire which was likely causes by the negligence of a single person.
How to Help Prevent Smoking-Related Fires in your Building
Edmonton Fire Rescue Services is urging city residents to take steps to prevent smoking-related fires. If you’re a smoker, or if you have guests who smoke, keep these safety tips in mind and do your best to enforce them:
- Never extinguish smoking materials in plant pots as they contain flammable materials
- Never toss smoking materials or cigarette butts over the edge of a balcony
- Never discard smoking materials on the ground, in garbage cans, or in dry, grassy areas
- Always explain the rules to your guests
- Always dispose of smoking materials in non-combustible ashtrays. This includes cigarettes, cigars, joints and matchsticks.
- Always keep a smoking receptacle on your balcony when guests come over. Even a bottle or glass filled with sand and water is much safer than risking the dangers of a fire.
Insure Yourself Against the Dangers of Smoking-Related Fires
Even if you don’t smoke yourself, smokers in your building and general vicinity can put your home at risk. Home and tenant insurance policies are designed to make sure your home and belongings are protected in case of such a disaster. Without homeowner’s or renter’s insurance, most people wouldn’t be able to afford to replace their homes and everything in them if something were to happen.
At MBS Insurance Brokers, we’ll work with you to find a comprehensive home, condo or tenant insurance policy that’s tailored to fit your needs and adequately protect your Edmonton home. Contact us today to make an appointment at (780) 436-7880 or request a free quote.