The holiday season is here, a time for festive decorations and celebrating with family and friends. However, during the holidays these celebrations can pose some fire safety risks at home.
“This time of year, is also a time when the number of preventable residential fires increases across Canada,” said Fire Chief, Mike Pecora. “Whether it’s a Christmas tree, candles, cooking or fireplaces, we’ve got some tips to help you and your family have a safe holiday.”
As you deck the halls this holiday season, be fire smart with these tips from Golden Fire Rescue.
Get a tree that is fresh and green. When picking the perfect place for your tree, make sure it is at least one-metre from any heat source, doesn’t block any exits and use a tree stand with a broad base for good balance.
Water your tree daily! This makes it last longer and will prevent it from drying out and becoming a fire hazard.
If using an artificial tree, make sure it is made of flame resistant or flame retardant material.
More than one-third of home decoration fires are started by candles. Make sure candles are in a sturdy holder, on a stable surface. Keep lit candles at least 12 inches from decorations, the Christmas tree or anything that can easily catch fire. A burning candle should never be left unattended and never use lit candles on your Christmas tree.
Use outdoor lights outdoors, and indoor lights indoors when decorating your home or Christmas tree.
When choosing lights, LEDs are a great option. They produce little heat, reducing the risk of fire, are more energy efficient and have a longer life cycle.
Inspect lights before putting them up and replace any cracked bulbs or damaged string of lights. Make sure lights have a sticker that shows they meet CSA standards or are CSA approved. Don’t overload electrical circuits and read the manufacturer’s instructions for the recommended number of light strings to connect.
Remember to always turn lights off before leaving the home or going to bed.
Tell guests about your home fire escape plan and stay in the kitchen when cooking on the stovetop.
Kitchen fires and cooking are the leading cause of home fires. Never leave cooking unattended. Keep anything that can catch fire away from your stovetop and always keep an oven mitt and lid nearby when cooking. If a small grease fire starts in a pan, smother the flames by carefully sliding the lid over the pan.
Keep warm and safe this holiday season. Test both your smoke and CO alarms and make sure fuel-burning appliances, chimneys and vents are properly maintained and clear of snow, ice and debris.
Burn dry, seasoned wood and keep your chimney clean. Use a screen in front of your fireplace to prevent sparks, embers or burning wood from escaping.
Keep anything that can burn at least one-metre away from heating equipment and always turn off portable heaters when leaving the room or going to bed. Never use an oven to heat your home.
“We hope everyone has a safe holiday season,” said Pecora. “Best wishes and Merry Christmas from all of us at Golden Fire Rescue.”