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Fire Prevention Week addresses outdoor patio heating

OAFC encourages the safe use, installation and maintenance of heating units to avoid any incidents
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As the cold weather approaches, the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs is addressing the use of heating units for outdoor patios.

The OAFC noted in a release that bars, restaurants, cafes, and individuals are using these heating units to keep these dining areas open going into the fall and winter seasons. 

While these fuel-fired units do provide warmth, the OAFC said they could also pose a danger if they are not installed, maintained or operated correctly.   

During the fire prevention week, the Technical Standards & Safety Authority (TSSA), the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs (OAFC) and the Canadian Propane Association partnered up to educate the hospitality industry and the public on the potential fire and carbon monoxide hazards associated with the improper use of these units. 

"With cooler temperatures, many establishments are still using their outdoor dining spaces by adding different types of portable heaters," said OAFC President, Chief Cynthia Ross Tustin.

Patio heaters are designed to be both portable and fixed to one location and meant for outdoor use only in open areas, away from combustible materials. 

If put inside a tent or other enclosed area, or near flammable tablecloths or paper products, there is a fire or carbon monoxide poisoning risk. 

"Not only do portable heaters need to be installed, used and maintained correctly, they must also be a safe distance away from flammable objects and properly ventilated. It is imperative that proper safety precautions are followed to prevent any damage to property, injuries, or worse, a fatal incident," added Tustin.

Owners and operators of outdoor patios and dining areas are responsible for the safe installation, operation and maintenance of these units and must abide by all safety instructions.  

If you are unsure of all of the guidelines, you can read them at the TSSA's website.

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