Deck the halls with fire safety

By Kayleigh Montgomery, Canadian Red Cross Digital Volunteer

Keep the season merry and bright with these simple holiday fire safety tips.

The decorative tree is the north star of the holiday season. The fire danger associated with real and artificial trees can be mitigated through these few safety tips.Photo of child with christmas tree

Natural Christmas trees
  • Check for freshness by tapping it on the ground. The spines shouldn’t detached easily. Dropping needles indicate a dry, highly flammable tree.
  • After cutting the base, place it in a container filled with water and make sure the trunk is supported.
  • Check that the tree is not running out of water, so it does not dry out.
  • Dispose of a real tree when the needles begin to fall off in large quantities.
Artificial trees
  • Make sure the tree bears the Canadian Standards Association (CSA). A fire resistant tree means the it will resist burning and should extinguish quickly.
Tip: Place your tree away from fireplaces, floor heaters and other heat sources. Heated rooms dry out fresh trees, so be sure to keep the stand filled with water by topping it up daily.

Light up the night

Filling the room with ambient lighting is a wonderful way to set the holiday mood. These few lighting and candle tips will ensure the mood stays jolly.

  • Use CSA-approved lights only. Place indoor and outdoor lights in their respective environments.
  • Check light strings for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections.
  • Do not use electric light strings or sets on metallic trees. A faulty system could energize the tree and shock or electrocute anyone coming into contact.
  • Turn off all lights when you go to bed or leave the house. The lights could short out and start a fire.
  • Do not overload electrical outlets, and never string more than three sets of lights per single extension cord.
CandlesPhoto of candle
  • Never leave burning candles unattended, and always keep out of reach of children.
  • Keep candles in sturdy holders on a stable surface, away from curtains, trees or any other potentially flammable objects.
  • Put out all candles before leaving the room or going to sleep.
Tip: try using battery-powered candles. Same warm glow with reduced fire danger!
More holiday fire advice
  • Check the operation of the smoke alarms
  • Make a home evacuation plan and practice it with family members
  • Make sure nothing touches baseboard heaters such as curtains, toys, electrical wires
  • Do not overload the electrical outlets and make sure that the wires or extension cords do not pass under a carpet or under a piece of furniture
  • Make sure matches and lighters are stored in a safe place out of the reach of children
  • Store flammable liquids away from heat sources and place them in approved containers

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