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12 days of holiday fire safety

By HUB SmartCoverage Team on December 7th, 2020

Now that Christmas is around the corner, why not participate in the 12 days of Holiday Fire Safety? It may just save your life or the lives of loved ones.

With COVID-19 keeping most of us home this year, fire departments across Canada are reminding homeowners to be vigilant. Statistically, there are more fires and fire-related deaths over the holidays than at any other time of the year. According to the U.S. National Fire Protection Association, most fires occur between Dec. 15 and Dec. 31.

The Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs recommends everyone follow these steps to keep safe:

Day 1: Water fresh trees daily

It's time to trim that Christmas tree, and if you’re using a real one, always buy a fresh tree and keep the base of the trunk in water. Keep it away from any ignition source such as the fireplace, heaters, or candles. Use only non-combustible or flame-resistant materials to trim a tree. Dispose of your tree properly after the holidays in your municipality’s tree pickup. Do not burn it in your fireplace.

Day 2: Check all sets of lights before decorating

Before you put those lights on the tree or around the front window, check the cords closely. Discard any sets that are frayed or damaged. Always use CSA approved lights. And, never put electric lights on a metallic tree. The tree can become charged with electricity from faulty lights, and a person touching a branch could be electrocuted. When leaving the house or going to bed, turn the lights off.The lights could short out and cause a fire.

Day 3: Make sure you have working smoke alarms

The holidays are a great time to check your smoke alarms. Replace them if they are over 10 years old. Remember that you need working smoke alarms on every storey of your home and outside all sleeping areas. Test the alarms to make sure they will alert you and your family if a fire occurs, giving you the time you need to safely escape. More Information on Smoke Alarms.

Day 4: Make sure you have working carbon monoxide alarms

Carbon monoxide is an invisible, odourless gas that can quickly kill you. Replace any carbon monoxide alarms over seven years old. Installing carbon monoxide alarms in your home will alert you to the presence of this deadly gas. More Information on CO Alarms.

Day 5: Make sure everyone knows how to get out safely if a fire occurs

Develop and practise a home fire escape plan with all members of the household and make sure someone helps young children, older adults, or anyone else that may need assistance to evacuate. Once outside, stay outside and call 911 from a cell phone. More information on a home escape plan

Day 6: Use extension cords wisely

People often use extension cords for that extra set of lights or the dancing Santa in the corner. Extension cords should be used only as a temporary connection. Make sure cords never go under rugs since this can cause damage to the cord and cause a fire. And, don’t overload electrical outlets.

Day 7: Give space heaters space

If you are using space heaters to help take the chill off, remember to keep them at least one metre (3 feet) away from anything that can burn such as curtains, upholstery, or holiday decorations.

Day 8: When you go out, blow out!

Candles can set the perfect mood for the holidays but remember to always blow them out before leaving the room or going to bed. Keep lit candles safely away from children and pets and anything that can burn, such as curtains, upholstery, or holiday decorations. You can also consider using battery-operated candles.

Day 9: Keep matches and lighters out of the sight and reach of children

People often keep matches and lighters handy to light holiday candles. But matches and lighters can be deadly in the hands of children.

Day 10: Watch what you heat!

Cooking fires most commonly occur when cooking is left unattended. Always stay in the kitchen when cooking; especially if using oil or high temperatures. If a pot catches fire, carefully slide a tight-fitting lid over the pot to smother the flames and then turn off the heat. More cooking safety tips

Day 11: Encourage smokers to smoke outside

Careless smoking is the leading cause of fatal fires. If you do allow smoking indoors use large, deep ashtrays that can't be knocked over and make sure cigarette butts are properly extinguished.

Day 12: There’s more to responsible drinking than taking a cab home

Keep a close eye on anyone attempting to cook or smoke while under the influence of alcohol. Alcohol is all too often a common factor in many fatal fires.

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