Christmas woman at home with christmas lights tangled

Fire prevention tips for the holiday season

The final countdown is on, and the holidays are in full swing! Many households are full of decor and excess clutter this time of year, but according to statistics from the Airdrie and Calgary Fire Departments, fire-related deaths double in Alberta during December. This is largely due to a lack of safety with holiday decorations, so here’s some tips to keep you and your home safe from fire this season.

Holiday Lights

  • Use indoor lights inside only, and outdoor lights outside only. Outdoor lights burn too hot for the indoors, and indoor lights aren’t weatherproof for your exterior.
  • Inspect your lights before use, check for cracked bulbs and frayed wires on the strings.
  • A maximum of three light strands should be connected together.
  • Don’t overload your circuits or outlets.
  • Ensure you turn off your lights before you leave the home or go to sleep.
  • Don’t run extension cords under rugs or create tripping hazards.

Christmas Trees

  • If you’re going for a real tree, the fresher the better. Older trees tend to be dryer and can be a fire hazard.
  • Cut your tree four centimetres diagonally to absorb water easily.
  • Place your tree away from heat sources, never use candles on your tree.
  • Keep your tree hydrated.
  • Never put tree branches or needles in fireplaces or open heat sources.
  • Avoid electric lights on metallic trees
  • Don’t add chemicals to the tree water if you have children or pets.

Holiday Decorations

  • Choose decorations that are flame-retardant only.
  • Do not use metallic decorations on your Christmas tree or anywhere that could come in contact with heat sources, like lights.
  • Avoid using decorations that have any faults or flaws on them.
  • Recycle wrapping paper and never dispose of it in the fireplace or in an open flame.

General Safety

  • Make sure your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are in good working order, you’ll likely have additional people in your home during the holidays so you want to make sure everyone is safe.
  • If you have a fireplace, make sure it’s had the maintenance done, these can be a real fire hazard.
  • Light candles only where safe to do so, never near anything flammable and always blow them out when you leave a room.
  • Use space heaters in open areas, and never near anything flammable or covered. Make sure to unplug space heaters when you’re not in the room as well.

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