MONTREAL -- With all the snow that's fallen in the past few weeks, the Montreal fire department is reminding residents to clear and de-ice all the emergency exits to their homes.

Keeping emergency exits, like fire escapes and back doors, clear at all times is not only required by law, but could save a life, the fire department warns.

Not only will a clear path outside allow people to get out quickly and safely, but it can also ensure that emergency responders can get inside in case of fire or medical intervention.

It's also worth noting that doors of common corridors that provide access to interior stairwells must be kept closed, preventing the spread of smoke in common areas in the case of fire.

Balconies also need to be well cleared and de-iced – not only for evacuation, but also because excess weight could cause a balcony to collapse, causing serious damage and injury to occupants on or under it.