Fire Safety – Holiday Style

We are closing in on the most wonderful time of the year! The presents, the time with family, the food! It’s truly a magical season, and we’d all like to keep it that way. Unfortunately, the wonder of the season also leaves homeowners in Toronto and Southern Ontario vulnerable to some serious challenges around fire safety. While we are equipped to help you get back on your feet with fire recovery services, we’d really rather help you protect your home with important fire safety “do and don’t” tips for the holidays.

Don’t Overload Electrical Outlets

Because holiday decorations are only used seasonally, they don’t often have dedicated electrical outlets in well-used living areas. There is a tendency during the holiday season, more so than at any other time of the year, to overload wall outlets for holiday lights and other decorations. This practice is very unsafe and it poses a serious fire hazard. Before you reach for an extension cord to plug in yet another string of lights, ask yourself if there’s something else that can be unplugged first.

Do Water the Tree

If you have ever seen “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” you remember Louis and the flaming tree. It’s hilarious as a scene in a movie, but as a real-life scenario in your home, you might be hard pressed to see the humour. Live holiday trees require a large reservoir and daily watering. If you are planning to be away for a good portion of the season or watering isn’t really your thing, consider making the move to an artificial tree. If you do still decide to go with a live tree, make sure the one you are planning to take home isn’t dry before you get it in the door. Give it a good shake and bump in the tree lot. If a lot of needles fall off on preliminary inspection, in a couple of weeks that tree is going to be drier than a desert. This is a fire hazard, to say nothing of the mess that is going to be left behind when you take it outside.

Do Watch the Lights

As a general rule, new LED lights are much safer than older bulbs. They also shine brighter and last longer than their predecessors. There are even LED flameless candles that give all the warmth and glow of traditional candles, but without the risks of open flame. Before stringing up lights on the tree, have a good look at the wires to check for signs of wear or fraying. It may be time to lower your energy bills, and your risk of a house fire, with some brand new CSA approved holiday lights.

Are you looking for more information on fire safety for the holidays? Check out the 12 Days of Holiday Fire Safety from the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs. If you do fall victim to the devastating effects of a house fire during the holidays, we can help you with expert fire recovery services. But like we said, we’d rather not have to do that! The best kinds of holidays are those that are enjoyed safely with your family.

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