Fire Safety During Seasonal Celebrations

Seasonal celebrations are a time for families and friends to get together. But all that festive cooking, costumes and decorating can bring a greater risk for fire. Following a few simple tips will ensure a happy and fire-safe event.

Click on the headings below for information on each topic. 

 
  • Blow out all candles when you leave the room or go to bed.
  • Avoid the use of candles in the bedroom and other areas where people may fall asleep.
  • Keep candles at least 30 centimetres away from anything that can burn.
  • Never leave a child alone in a room with a burning candle. Keep matches and lighters up high and out of children’s reach, such as in a locked cabinet
  • Consider using battery-operated, flameless candles.

If you do burn candles, make sure that you:

  • Use candle holders that are sturdy and won’t tip over easily
  • Put candle holders on a sturdy, uncluttered surface
  • Light candles carefully — keep your hair and any loose clothing away from the flame
  • Don’t burn a candle all the way down — put it out before it gets too close to the holder or container
  • Never use a candle if medical oxygen is used in the home
  • Have flashlights and battery-powered lighting ready to use during a power outage. Never use candles

Be alarmed! Test smoke and carbon monoxide alarms at least once a month

  • When choosing a costume, stay away from long trailing fabric. If your child is wearing a mask, make sure the eye holes are large enough to see out of.
  • Provide children with flashlights to carry for lighting or glow sticks as part of their costume.
  • Keep all decorations away from open flames and other heat sources like light bulbs and heaters.
  • Use a battery-operated candle or glow-stick in jack-o-lanterns. Make sure children are watched at all times when candles are lit. If lighting real candles inside jack-o-lanterns, use long, fireplace-style matches or a utility lighter. Be sure to place lit pumpkins well away from anything that can burn and far enough out of the way of trick-or-treaters, doorsteps, walkways and yards.
  • Remember to keep exits clear of decorations, so nothing blocks escape routes.
  • Make sure all smoke alarms in the home are working.
  • Tell children to stay away from open flames including jack-o-lanterns with candles in them. Be sure they know how to stop, drop and roll if their clothing catches fire. Have them practice, stopping immediately, dropping to the ground, covering their face with hands, and rolling over and over to put the flames out.

Holiday decorating

  • Be careful with holiday decorations. Choose decorations that are flame resistant or flame retardant.
  • Keep lit candles away from decorations and other things that can burn.
  • Some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use, but not both.
  • Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections. Read manufacturer’s instructions for number of light strands to connect.
  • Use clips, not nails, to hang lights so the cords do not get damaged.
  • Keep decorations away from windows and doors

Holiday entertaining

  • Keep children and pets away from lit candles.
  • Keep matches and lighters up high in a locked cabinet.
  • Stay in the kitchen when cooking on the stovetop.
  • If you smoke – be it cannabis or tobacco – consider smoking outside and only where it is permitted, and encourage friends or family who smoke to do the same.
  • If you do smoke inside, use large, deep ashtrays. Be cautious when smoking on sofas and couches – a burning cigarette can smolder between the cushions of upholstered furniture and go unnoticed for hours.
  • Do not discard of any smoking materials in garbage cans or vegetation such as mulch, planter boxes, potted plants or landscaping, peat moss, dried grasses, leaves or other things that could ignite easily.

Picking the tree

  • Choose a tree with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched.

Placing the tree

  • Before placing the tree in the stand, cut 2” from the base of the trunk.
  • Make sure the tree is at least three feet away from any heat source, like fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents or lights.
  • Make sure the tree is not blocking an exit.
  • Add water to the tree stand. Be sure to add water daily.

Lighting the tree

  • Use lights that have the label of a recognized testing laboratory. Some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use.
  • Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections. Read manufacturer’s instructions for number of light strands to connect.
  • Never use lit candles to decorate the tree.
  • Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving home or going to bed.

Disposing of the tree

  • Get rid of the tree after Christmas or when it is dry. Dried-out trees are a fire danger and should not be left in the home or garage, or placed outside against the home.
  • Check with your local community to find a recycling program.
  • Bring outdoor electrical lights inside after the holidays to prevent hazards and make them last longer.
  • Reduce the risk of cooking fires by being alert. You may not be fully alert if you are tired, drowsy or impaired by alcohol, cannabis, other drugs or certain medications.
  • Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling, or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.
  • If you are simmering, baking, roasting, or boiling food, check it regularly, remain in the home while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you that you’re cooking.
  • Keep things that can catch fire — potholders, oven mitts, paper or plastic bags, curtains — away from your stove top.
  • Wear short, close-fitting or tightly rolled sleeves when cooking. Loose clothing can dangle onto stove burners and can catch fire if it comes in contact with a gas flame or electric burner.
  • Have a “kid-free zone” of at least 1 metre around the stove and areas where hot food or drink is prepared or carried. 
  • Open microwaved food slowly, away from the face. Hot steam from a container of microwaved food or the food itself can cause burns.
  • Never heat a baby bottle in a microwave oven because it heats liquids unevenly. Heat baby bottles in warm water.
  • Treat a burn right away, putting it in cool water. Cool the burn for three to five minutes. Cover with a clean, dry cloth. If the burn is bigger than your fist, or if you have any questions, get medical help right away.

If you have a small grease or oven cooking fire:

  • On the stove top, smother the flames by sliding a lid over the pan and turning off the burner. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled.
  • Never pour water or use a fire extinguisher on a cooking pan grease fire!
  • For an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed. After a fire, the oven should be checked and/or serviced before being used again.

If you have any doubt, get out!

  • When you leave, close the door behind you to help contain the fire.
  • Call 911 or your local emergency number from outside your home.