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.
* 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.
* 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