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12 Tips for Holiday Fire Safety

December 18th, 2014 | by admin admin | in Safety Advice |    0   comments

Forty-six seconds. Less than a minute. That’s how long it takes for a Christmas tree to burst into flame and engulf a living room. Don’t believe it? Watch this video.

Although Christmas tree fires are not common, they are devastating. Watch the difference between a dry tree and a well-watered one:


Trees, candles, decorations: the most popular holiday traditions can also pose fire hazards at this time of year. Here are some fire safety tips for the holidays:

1. Keep your tree fresh. Look for green needles that don’t fall off easily. Slice off an inch or two from the trunk. Keep it well watered. Or, go with artificial trees labelled as fire resistant. More Christmas tree safety tips.

2. Watch your candles. The flame can reach 1,400° C and easily ignites nearby flammable objects. Candles knocked over by children or pets, or left unattended, are among the most common causes of fire. Consider using battery-operated candles. More candle safety tips.

3. Check your lights. Damaged sockets, bare wires and loose connections may cause a serious shock or start a fire. LED lights burn cooler than incandescent ones. Never string more than three strings of incandescent lights together, or otherwise overload your circuits. And use only outdoor lights outdoors.

4. Stay away from heat. Keep your tree, decorations and other flammable materials at least three feet away from all heat sources, including space heaters, fireplaces and candles.

5. Test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

6. Smoke outside. Ensure smokers have plenty of large, deep ashtrays and water for wetting used cigarette butts.

7. Drink responsibly. Cooking or smoking while impaired too often leads to fires.

8. Stay in the kitchen. Keep a (sober) eye on the stove at all times when cooking at high heat. When simmering or roasting food, use a timer and don’t leave the house.

9. Be careful with oil. Grease and fat fires are a leading cause of home fires. Never turn on the overhead vent or pour water on a grease fire. Instead, turn off the heat, put a lid on the fire and pour baking soda (not flour) on the flames.

10. Watch the kids. Keep them well away from the stove, candles and fireplace. Keep tabs on your matches and lighters, and store them out of children’s reach.

11. Don’t burn your garbage. Tossing your gift wrap, boxes or packaging into the fireplace can cause a flash fire. Likewise, a rapidly burning Christmas tree can damage your firebox and chimney.

12. Clear your fireplace ashes regularly. Place them in a metal container with a lid and store them outside, away from any flammable materials.

For more information on preventing holiday fires:

Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs: Holiday Fire Safety.

Electrical Safety Foundation International: Holiday Survival Guide

National Fire Protection Association:

Put a Freeze on Winter Fires

Home Christmas Tree and Holiday Light Fires 


Note: This blog discusses general safety and security topics. It is not intended to provide comprehensive advice or guidance. In all matters of personal safety and security, we encourage readers to research topics in depth and consult a security professional about specific concerns.

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