Safety Precautions for the Holiday Season
Deaths due to fire are higher than normal during the Christmas season. The cause of these fires is often related to Christmas trees, decorations, overloaded circuits or the improper use of the fireplace. To ensure you and your family have a safe and happy holiday, please follow these safety tips.
Your Christmas Tree
Ensure your Christmas tree is fresh – A freshly cut tree is more moist and less of a fire hazard. You can test for freshness by tapping the butt of the tree on the ground; if fresh, very few needles should fall off.
Ensure your tree stand is sufficient to support the tree – Use a tree stand with a large base for better balance and a large reservoir kept full of water so the tree won’t dry out. Before setting up the tree cut two inches off the butt, so the water can penetrate the tree more efficiently.
Never place the tree near a heat source – Heat sources include fireplaces, radiators, heating ducts, space heaters, etc.
Do not block doors or windows with the tree – They may be needed as escape routes.
Use only lights which are CSA approved – Remember to check for and discard frayed, broken and exposed wires. Do not use indoor lights outside (they lack weather proof connections) or outdoor lights inside (they may burn too hot).
Use caution with decorations – Use flame-retardant, noncombustible, nonconductive decorations. Never use lighted candles. Do not use metallic ornaments on a tree. If they come in contact with defective wiring they could become a shock hazard.
Do not use electric lights on a metallic tree – A fault in the system could energize the tree and shock or electrocute anyone coming in contact. (These trees can be illuminated by coloured floodlights placed at a safe distance from tree and out of reach of everyone.
Remember turn off all tree or display lights before leaving the house or going to bed.
Your Fire Place
Do not burn gift wrapping, boxes, cartons or other types of packing – They burn too rapidly and generate more heat than your fireplace can handle.
Don’t hang stockings on the fireplace mantel when the fireplace is in use.
Always have a screen in front of the fireplace – This protects against flying sparks.
Never use gasoline or any other flammable liquids to start a fire.
Clean ashes regularly – put them in a metal container and store outside away from flammable materials.
Do not use Christmas Trees for firewood.
Do not overload wall outlets – Insert plugs into outlets as poor contact may cause overheating or produce shock.
Use only cords which are CSA approved – Inspect all cords for loose connections or frayed or exposed wire; discard any defective cords. Do not run extension cords under carpets or coil or bunch them up, which may cause over heating.