Safety tips for holidays

According to the Vernon Fire Department, the festive celebrations of December come with danger and a high fire risk

Preparations for Christmas are underway but residents should ensure they also consider safety.

According to the Vernon Fire Department, the festive celebrations of December come with danger and a high fire risk.

“During the December 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,” said Lawrie Skolrood, deputy fire chief.

Here are a few fire safety tips:

Christmas trees

• Ensure your artificial tree is “Fire Resistant”.

• Ensure your live tree is fresh and moist at all times. Cut the stalk at an angle and keep the tree well watered. Dropping needles indicate a dry, highly flammable tree.

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

Lighting

• 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 electrocuted.

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

Decorations

• 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 containers.

The Vernon Fire Department gives credit for these tips to the Manitoba Office of the Fire Commissioner.