The Holiday season is fast approaching, Decorations are being dusted off, and Christmas Trees are getting set up. It is a time to spend with Family and Friends, and take in the magic of the season. Unfortunately, it is also a time where preventable residential fires increase Canada wide.
We encourage everyone to consider fire safety a top priority while setting up their decorations. Whether it is ensuring the Christmas Tree is properly watered, to hanging fire safe ornaments, to not overloading your electrical outlets. There are several steps a homeowner can take to avoid a holiday disaster.
One extremely important safety step to take action on- not just at the holiday season but all year long, is to test all your smoke alarms and make sure there is one installed on every level and outside all sleeping areas.
Here are a few steps you can take to keep you, your family and your home safe during the holidays;
- If purchasing a real Christmas tree, check for freshness by tapping it on the ground. Dropping needles from the tree indicates dry and highly flammable. Needles should be hard to pull from the branches, and when bent between your fingers doe not break.
- When purchasing artificial Christmas trees, it’s important to make sure it is fire resistant. Although, the label “fire resistant” does not mean it won’t catch fire, it will be easier and faster to extinguish, and will resist burning. The tree should also contain the CSA label- assuring it meets the Canadian Standards Association.
- Place your tree away from fireplaces, floor heaters, or other heat sources that may be around. Heated rooms will cause the fresh tree to dry out faster, so keeping the water in the stand watered daily will help.
- Never ever keep lighted candles on or around the tree
- Dispose of a fresh tree 10-14 days after purchase or as soon as you notice needles beginning to fall in large quantities. Remember when a fresh starts showing signs of being dry- it is highly highly flammable.
- Use CSA approved lights only. Place indoor, outdoor lights in their respective environments.
- New or old, always check the light strings for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections and throw out any damaged sets. Doing so before you hang up the lights makes it a lot easier to make changes such as bulb changes.
- Do not use electric lights on metallic trees.
- A faulty light set can energize the tree causing shock or electrocution anyone coming into contact.
- Turn off all the lights when you go to bed or leave the house. The lights can short out and start a fire.
- Do not overload electrical outlets, and never string more than 3 sets lights per single extension cord.
- Ensure your chimney flue is open and clean before you light a fire.
- Remove any decorations that could be burned around the fireplace such as; stockings or garland
- Also use a screen in front of the fireplace to avoid sparks flying.
- Avoid burning wrapping paper in the fireplace. It can result in a flash fire as wrapping paper ignites suddenly and burns more intensely.
- Never leave the fire left unattended or let it smolder.
- Do not use Christmas trees as fire wood. Use only seasoned, dry wood.
- Choose decorations that are flame resistant, non combustible, non conductive.
- Do not use metallic ornaments on the tree. If they make contact with defective wiring they become a shock hazard.
- When decorating your tree, place breakable ornaments higher on the tree. It protects your children and pets.
- With candles the risk is obvious having an open flame, never leaving unattended, leaving close to flammable objects. Using battery operated candles takes the risk away and still provide the same relaxing setting.
- Never leave your cooking unattended.
- Use the timers when roasting or baking to remind when completed.
- Assure anything such as; paper towels, cloths are kept away from the stove.
- If a fire occurs- DO NOT turn on the overhead fan this can spread the fire.
Pointing out these safety tips are not meant to overwhelm, or take the fun out of the holiday season, but to simply bring awareness to help you take the precautions to assure your holiday season is made of positive memories only.
For all your Christmas electrical needs we are here for you.
We wish you all a very happy and safe holiday season.