Dufferin Mutual Insurance Company

Don't Strike That Match

THINK - before you light that pile of twigs, leaves and grass. An ever increasing number of grass fires destroy valuable property each year when people are in the throws of spring cleaning their yards.

Stop before you strike that match and think about the wind - what direction is it coming from and how strong is it. Even a slight breeze can put a small fire out of control very quickly. Now, think about the contents of this pile of debris - everything will burn extremely fast. You know that because you have preformed this same exercise every spring since you bought your property.

Now, can you remember the last time it rained or do you always do this job on a nice dry, sunny, breezy day in April or May. This, after all, is your rite of spring. But what if this year you get distracted - you may see some more twigs to add to the pile or get called into the house to take a phone call from the coach of the baseball team. Everyone else in the family is busy so you have no-one to assist you with the burning. And the grass still looks very brown. Match

Now you have a formula for disaster. You left it for only a moment and when you return it is already out of control. You rush to call the Fire Department. The call goes out to the Volunteer Fire Fighters of your town but they can't come because they are busy puting out a grass fire in the neighbouring township. It takes over 30 minutes for the fire trucks to arrive from another district and by now the fire has spread frighteningly close to your buildings. What a way to spend a day!

A better use of those leaves might be to start composting. Nature has a great ability to reuse its own products. Take a look at the soil under all those leaves in the forest. It's moist, very rich and full of earthworms - the result of centuries of natural composting.

Unattended barbecues are a common cause of grass fires so check for fire hazards in the area where you do your outdoor cooking. Its an extension of your kitchen so put a fire extinguisher nearby.

When a fire alarm is sounded usually at least 3 trucks respond at a cost of $300.00 per vehicle for the first hour. Costs drop to $120.00 per vehicle for each subsequent half-hour. Up to 20 fire fighters arrive and that cost is $15.00 or more per person per hour. Most call-outs are a minimum of 2 hours. So grass fires cost at least $2,200.00 to extinguish. More and more municipalities are starting to charge individuals for these costs.

You need a fire permit from your municipal office and at present most areas have a ban on fires because of the dry grass. We have more broken branches this year because of the ice storms, so if you intend to burn them, get a permit and light that match on a very calm day during a light misty rain. Remember - very few grass fires are the result of natural causes like lightning.

712 Main Street East, Shelburne, Ontario. Canada. L9V 2Z4
Tel: 519 925 2026 • Toll Free: 800 265.9115
Fax: 519 925 3357
email: info@dufferinmutual.com
© Dufferin Mutual Insurance Company 2012