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Posted: December 23, 2018

Holiday fire safety

With the winter holidays almost here, the Office of the Fire Commissioner and Emergency Management BC offer some fire safety advice to help ensure a happy and fire-safe holiday season for all British Columbians.


* Keep combustibles such as trees, wrapping paper and decorations away from heat sources.

* Ensure a real tree stays fresh by watering it often. Dispose of it safely.

* Choose flame-retardant or non-combustible decorations and only use lights that have been tested and labelled by a certified testing laboratory. Consider energy-efficient LED lighting, which produces less heat and poses less of a fire risk.

* Always turn incandescent decorative lights for real trees off before leaving home or going to sleep. Certified timers can be used to pre-set on and off times.

* Ensure electrical outlets are not overloaded.

Cooking safety

* Stovetop fires can start in a flash. Always stay in the kitchen while food is cooking and keep anything flammable at a safe distance from the stove.

* When celebrating the holidays with children, designate a “kid-free zone” around the stove and food preparation areas.

Candle safety

* Always place candle holders on a stable surface, and never leave lit candles unattended.

* Use non-combustible containers for tea lights and votive candles. Battery operated candles are an excellent alternative.

* Keep children and pets away from lit candles.

Smoke alarms and fire escape planning 

* Ensure working smoke alarms are present on every level of the home and outside each sleeping area.

* Test and clean smoke alarms regularly and change batteries at least twice a year.

* Develop a fire escape plan, practise it regularly and have at least two ways out of a home. Remember to share this emergency plan with guests as well.

* Make sure holiday decorations do not block any exits.

Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General and Office of the Fire Commissioner

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