Holiday season safety tips

Vernon Fire Rescue Services is reminding the public that the festive celebrations of December also come with danger and a high fire risk.

During the holiday season the incidences of fires and fire losses involving candles, home heating equipment, clothes dryers and electrical sources increase significantly  higher than these same categories for the rest of the year.

To help keep your holiday season full of happiness and safe from fire, here are a few fire safety tips from the B.C. Office of the Fire Commissioner:

Christmas trees:

Ensure your artificial tree is fire resistant.

Ensure your live tree is fresh and watered at all times.

Set up live and artificial trees away from fireplaces, heaters and other heat sources and make sure they are not blocking an exit.


Indoors or outdoors, use only lights that have been tested and labeled by a
recognized testing agency such as the ULC or CSA.

Inspect holiday lights yearly for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires,
or loose connections. Throw out damaged sets.

If using extension cords, make sure they are rated for the intended use and in
good condition.

Never use electric lights on a metallic tree. The tree can become charged with
electricity from faulty lights, and a person touching a branch could be

Turn off all holiday lights when you go to bed or leave the house.


Choose non-flammable decorations whenever possible.

Keep decorations, curtains, clothing and spray aerosol cans away from open
flames or heat sources, such as lights, candles, heaters and fireplaces.

Never put a candle on or near the branches of your Christmas tree.

Mount candles on metal or glass candleholders, or place them in noncombustible

Heating Systems, Chimneys and Smoke Alarms:

Electrical and heating systems can fail and become fire hazards. Ensure they are
regularly checked by a professional, especially prior to the holiday season when
fireplaces, heaters, appliances and other electrical equipment are in maximum

Have your chimney and furnace cleaned and professionally inspected prior to
each winter season.

Keep heating appliances at least one metre (three feet) away from combustibles.

Ensure you have working smoke alarms on every level of your home and a well
rehearsed fire escape plan in case a fire does break out in your home.

Holiday Entertaining:

Unattended cooking is the leading cause of home fires. Do not leave your
cooking unattended.

Provide smokers with large, deep ashtrays and check them frequently. Douse
butts completely in water before discarding.

After a party, check inside and under upholstery and cushions for smoldering

Keep matches and lighters up high and out of the sight and reach of children.

Test your smoke alarms and explain your fire escape plan to your guests.

Do not smoke in bed, when tired or under the influence of alcohol or medication.
Smoking is the most common cause of fire deaths.

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