It’s the most wonderful time of the year, but it’s also a time when the risk of home fires increases. To keep your home and loved ones safe this holiday season, it’s important to be aware of potential fire hazards and take steps to prevent them. Here are some tips for keeping your home fire-safe as part of our 12 days of holiday fire safety:

Day 1: Holiday Lights

Consider LED lights and avoid electrical fires by replacing damaged strings and using nail-free clips for outdoor-rated lights.

Day 2: Candles and Decorations

Don’t ruin the holiday season mixing holiday decorations and open flames from candles. Consider battery-operated candles and keep candles in a sturdy container, away from pets and children. Always blow candles out when you leave the room.

Day 3: Smoke Alarms

When seconds matter, a working smoke alarm is the gift of time in the event of a fire. Test alarms monthly and replace batteries at least once a year and whenever the low battery warning sounds.

Day 4: Carbon Monoxide Alarms

Odourless unlike gingerbread; invisible unlike an ugly holiday sweater! Carbon monoxide (CO) is a deadly gas that can cause flu-like symptoms. Only a CO alarm’s four beeps can protect your family from CO exposure.

Day 5: Tree Watering

Falling needles are your tree’s way of telling you it’s drying out and is a fire statistic waiting to happen. Keep live trees away from heat sources, water daily, and use LED lights.

Day 6: Extension Cords

Extension cords are only a temporary solution! Avoid electric shock and fire and don’t overload a circuit or run extension cords under a rug. If more outlets are needed, have them installed by a licensed electrician.

Day 7: Kids in the Kitchen

Safety first, cookies second! Keep an eye on little bakers this season and never leave cooking unattended.

Day 8: Home Fire Escape Plans

Santa needs one way out of your home – you need two! A home fire escape plan with two ways out of every room ensures your loved ones are prepared for the worst so you can focus on the best: festive cheer!

Day 9: Cooking

Unattended cooking is a leading cause of home fires in Ontario. Always remember to slow things down and never walk away from the kitchen when there’s something on the stove.

Day 10: Heating Sources

Staying warm this Winter Solstice means practicing fire safety. If using space heaters, wood stoves, or fireplaces, keep at least one metre (3 feet) distance between heat source and combustibles, like paper and fabrics.

Day 11: Smoking

Never flick your butt – careless smoking remains the leading cause of fatal fires. This season, have smokers outside using deep, sturdy ashtrays. A lit butt is the difference between a holiday to remember and a holiday you’ll want to forget. 

Day 12: Lithium-Ion Batteries

Receiving a new lithium-ion powered device as a gift can be exciting but also adds potential risk to your home. Keep an eye on anything charging, follow any instructions for safe charging and do not exceed suggested charge times. 

By following these tips, you can help prevent home fires and keep your family safe this holiday season. For more information on fire safety and fire protection at Carleton University, visit our Fire Protection Program page or reach out to the Fire Protection Coordinator.

Happy holidays!

Office of the Fire Marshal, Holiday Fire Safety 2023 (Photos)
Upklyak, Freepik (Image)