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A Few Safety Tips for the Holiday Season

Keep combustibles, such as trees, wrapping paper and decorations away from heat sources.

With the winter holidays almost upon us, the Office of the Fire Commissioner and Emergency Management BC are offering some fire safety advice to help ensure a happy and fire-safe holiday season for all British Columbians.

Decorating

  • Keep combustibles, such as trees, wrapping paper and decorations away from heat sources.
  • Ensure your live tree stays fresh by watering it often, and dispose of it safely when it is dry.
  • Choose flame-retardant or non-combustible decorations, and only use lights that have been tested and labelled by a certified testing laboratory. Consider energy-efficient LED lighting, which produces less heat and poses less of a fire risk.
  • Always turn all incandescent decorative lights off before leaving home or going to sleep. Certified timers can be used to pre-set ‘on’ and ‘off’ times.
  • Ensure electrical outlets are not overloaded.

Cooking safety

  • Stovetop fires can start in a flash. Always stay in the kitchen while food is cooking, and keep anything flammable at a safe distance from the stove.
  • If you are celebrating the holidays with little ones, designate a kid-free zone around the stove and food preparation areas.

Candle safety

  • Always place candle holders on a stable surface, and never leave lit candles unattended.
  • Use non-combustible containers for tea lights and votive candles. Battery-operated candles are an excellent alternative.
  • Keep children and pets away from lit candles.

Smoke alarms and fire escape planning

  • Ensure that working smoke alarms are present on every level of your home and outside each sleeping area.
  • Test and clean smoke alarms regularly and change batteries at least twice a year.
  • Develop a fire escape plan, practise it regularly and designate at least two ways out of your home. Remember to share your emergency plan with your guests as well.
  • Make sure holiday decorations do not block any exits.