Many disposable masks have a metal nose wire or staples holding the straps which can cause sparks or a fire when heated. (Pixabay photo)

Don’t use microwave to sterilize COVID-19 masks: Ontario fire marshal

Jon Pegg says there have been 51 fire fatalities in Ontario between Jan. 1 and May 4

Ontario’s fire marshal says there’s been an increase in fire deaths this year as COVID-19 measures force many people to stay home and do more home cooking.

Jon Pegg says there have been 51 fire fatalities between Jan. 1 and May 4, a 65 per cent increase over the same time period last year. He says 17 Ontarians have died in fires this past March alone.

Fire marshal office spokesman Ryan Betts says it wasn’t clear how many deaths occurred in homes and how many were due to cooking but says unattended cooking is the leading cause of home fires.

He adds that “we do know more people are staying at home these days and therefore the potential is greater for things like cooking fires and smoking.”

The fire marshal is also warning people not to use a microwave to sterilize face masks or other personal protective equipment. Pegg says microwave ovens are not designed to heat cloth materials, so there is a risk of the mask overheating and catching fire.

Betts says he is not aware of any fires caused by microwaves and masks in Ontario, but says it has been an issue in the United States and United Kingdom.

Many disposable masks have a metal nose wire or staples holding the straps which can cause sparks or a fire when heated.

“Heating a face mask in a microwave, in an effort to decontaminate it, is a potential fire risk and should never be done,” Pegg said Tuesday in a release.

Betts says no heat source should be used to sterilize personal protective equipment, including ovens and radiators.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirusfirefighters

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Happy hour, dance party fundraiser for Central Okanagan Food Bank

Local musicians perform a virtual concert on June 5

Central Okanagan school buses to remain parked through the summer

The board of education made the decision to nix bus services on Wednesday

Booze on Kelowna beaches? Mayor says ‘not at the moment’

Mayor Colin Basran says alcohol in public spaces is not on council’s radar right now — but that could change

Motor trike crashes into hole in Ellison area

A man was taken to hospital after crashing his trike on Anderson Road

Mission prison COVID-19 outbreak ends, 9 new cases in B.C.

New positive test at Port Coquitlam care home

RCMP request public’s help in locating missing Salmon Arm man

Ken Derkach is a familiar face to many, one of the city’s residents who is without a home

Getting hitched at historic B.C. gold rush town still on table during COVID-19 pandemic

Micro-weddings, online visits, offered at Barkerville Historic Town and Park

VIDEO: Police look for suspect seen tripping elderly woman in Burnaby

The elderly woman was walking near the SkyTrain station when she was randomly tripped

Drunk man on a dirt bike and prohibited drivers without insurance keep Shuswap RCMP busy

Other calls resulted in excessive speed tickets and the arrests of two prohibited drivers

Summerland amends procedure for virtual council meetings, adding transparency

During COVID-19 pandemic, meetings have been held using online technology

Serious vehicle incident closes Highway 97 near Falkland

DriveBC says an assessment is underway; delays expected

South Okanagan woman to ‘load up the cart’ with toys for local hospital

Pascale-Ann Demers launched a GoFundMe to upgrade the toy supply at Penticton Regional Hospital

‘We are not seeking a handout,’ Enderby drive-in owner says

Touched by fundraising efforts, Starlight says show support by coming to the movies instead

Most Read