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

Cloverdale businessman funds wells in Cambodia

Revive Washing in Clayton Heights donates three per cent of profits to charity

Safe Surrey under fire for ‘sickening’ social media posts accusing RCMP of murder

Mayor Doug McCallum says tweet, Facebook post ‘sent out by unauthorized person’

Surrey RCMP look for missing man

Tyler Ridout, 36, last seen near Balsam Crescent and 136th Street

Fraser Valley Regional Library branches offer curbside pick up

After two and a half months of being closed, people can once again check books out of the library

11 new COVID-19 cases in B.C. as top doc urges caution amid ‘encouraging’ low rates

Dr. Bonnie Henry also announced that two care home outbreaks would be declared over

Father’s Day Walk Run for prostate cancer will be virtual event this year throughout B.C.

The annual fundraiser for Prostate Cancer Foundation BC has brought in $2.5 million since 1999

Dr. Bonnie Henry announces official ban on overnight kids’ camps this summer

New ban comes after talking with other provincial health officials across the country, Henry says

Senior man in hospital after unprovoked wolf attack near Prince Rupert

Conservation officers are on site looking for the wolf

Help the ‘Cloverdale Reporter’ continue its mission to provide trusted local news

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

VIDEO: NASA astronauts blast off into space on SpaceX rocket

Marks NASA’s first human spaceflight launched from U.S. soil in nearly a decade

‘I knew what he wanted’: Kootenay man spends hours in tree as black bear patrols below

Francis Levasseur is no stranger to the outdoors, but a recent run-in with a bear caused quite a scare

B.C.’s police watchdog probing death of Richmond man in alleged shoplifting incident

Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is asking any witnesses to come forward

PHOTOS: U.S. cities brace for increasing unrest over police killing of George Floyd

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz has fully mobilized the state’s National Guard

Most Read