Holiday season is fire season. Provincial statistics continue to show that during the winter holiday season, fire-related deaths in Alberta homes double compared to the rest of the year. Here are some tips to stay safe.
Check all lights before decorating.
Before you put up lights, check the cords closely, discard any sets that are frayed or damaged and never plug more than three strings of lights together.
Check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors this holiday season.
Test them once a month by pushing the test button, install alarms inside each room where people sleep, and replace alarms over 10 years old.
Give space heaters some space.
Don’t run space heaters near curtains, furniture, or holiday decorations, keep them at least three feet (one meter) away from anything that can burn – including you, and shut off/unplug heaters when you leave your home, or go to bed.
Watch what you heat!
The holiday season is one of the busiest times of the year, which means it’s easy to get distracted from what we are doing. 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. Visit Kitchen and Cooking Fire Safety for more tips.
Use extension cords wisely.
Be careful not to overload electrical outlets with lights, decorations and appliances as this can create overheating that could result in fire. Never put cords under rugs.
Keep your Christmas tree well watered.
Water fresh trees daily, keep the base of the trunk in water at all times, and keep your tree away from any ignition sources, such as the fireplace, heaters or candles.
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.
Stay safe during social gatherings.
With all the festive cheer this time of year, keep a close eye on anyone attempting to cook or smoke while under the influence of alcohol. Social occasions coupled with alcohol consumption, cooking, smoking or unattended candles can create a fire risk. To minimize the risk at parties, plan your event in advance so you have enough time to prepare the meal. Hurried cooking activities, multi-tasking and neglecting fire safety can be ingredients for an unwanted house fire. Avoid over-crowding. Encourage guests to smoke outside and provide them with a safe ashtray. Refrain from burning candles during parties, as they can easily be accidentally knocked over or ignite nearby combustibles.
Home Escape Plan
Fires occur most often at home. Take precautions to protect yourself an have a home escape plan.
Do You Have a Roadside Emergency Kit?
It's winter, and there's never been a better time to make sure you have an emergency car kit in your vehicle. Whether it's a flat tire on a road without cell service, or being on the highway when traffic comes to a standstill for hours, every car kit should begin with some general emergency supplies. Travel with a full tank of gas, and learn more about other ways you can be prepared for a roadside emergency.
Learn more by reading these pdf additional tips (438 KB) from the Office of the Fire Commissioner.