We're sharing seasonal fire safety tips to help keep you and your family safe as temperatures dip and we get closer to the holidays. Click through our 12 Days of fire safety squares to learn more.
Day 1: Water holiday trees daily
Water a live tree every day.
Use fire-safe decorations such as tinsel or icicles.
Avoid smoking near the tree or decorations.
Turn tree lights off before going to sleep and when you leave your home.
Dispose of your tree when it begins to turn brown or dry out.
Keep your tree away from heat sources such as candles, heating vents or radiators.
Day 2: Use extension cords wisely
- Don't overload extension cords.
- Make sure cords never go under rugs, are pinched by furniture, are located by heat sources or are attached by nails or staples. A damaged cord can cause a fire.
- People often use extension cords for that extra set of lights or the dancing Santa in the corner. Extension cords should be used only as a temporary connection.
Day 3: Make sure you have working smoke alarms
- With family and friends spending extra time at your home over the holidays, it's a great time to check your smoke alarms.
- Test your alarms to make sure they will alert you and your family if a fire occurs, giving you the precious seconds you need to safely escape.
- If your fire alarm does not work, call 416-981-5500.
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Day 4: If you have a carbon monoxide alarm, make sure it's working
- Carbon monoxide is an invisible, odourless gas that can quickly kill you.
- Carbon monoxide alarms that are more than seven years old should be replaced. Installing carbon monoxide alarms in your home will alert you to the presence of this deadly gas.
- If your home has an attached garage or other fuel burning device you must have a working carbon monoxide alarm outside every sleeping area.
- If you live in an apartment building, ask the building superintendent or site representative if you require a carbon monoxide alarm.
Day 5: Make sure everyone knows how to get out safely if a fire occurs
- Develop and practise a home fire escape plan with all members of the household as well as guests over the holidays.
- Make sure someone helps young children, older adults or anyone else that may need assistance to evacuate.
- Determine who will be responsible for helping anyone who may need assistance.
- Once outside, stay outside and call 911 from a cell phone or neighbour's house.
Day 6: Check all sets of lights before decorating
- Check tree lights for damage each year. Replace worn sets.
- Use decorative lighting and extension cords that have a Canadian Standards Association (CSA) label. Check the packaging to see if they are safe to use indoors or outdoors.
- Unplug all decorative lighting before going to sleep or leaving your home.
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Day 7: Give space heaters space
Keep all heaters at least 1 metre (3 feet) away from anything burnable, such as paper, drapes, loose clothes, furniture, bedding or wallpaper.
Never place clothes on a heater.
Turn off heaters when you leave the house or go to sleep.
Keep children well away from heaters.
Space heaters and extension cords must have a CSA label.
Day 8: When you go out, blow out!
Candles can set the perfect mood for a holiday celebration, but remember to always blow out candles and wet the wicks before leaving the room or going to sleep.
Always stand candles in stable candle holders before you light them.
Never leave burning candles unattended or near pets, small children or decorations.
Day 9: Keep matches and lighters out of the sight and reach of children
- People often keep matches and lighters handy to light holiday candles, but matches and lighters can be deadly in the hands of children.
- If you smoke, have only one lighter or book of matches and keep them with you at all times.
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Day 10: Watch what you heat!
- The holiday season is one of the busiest times of the year, which means it's easy to get distracted from what we are doing.
- Cooking fires most commonly occur when cooking is left unattended.
- Always stay in the kitchen when cooking; especially if using oil or high temperatures.
- If a pot catches fire, carefully slide a tight-fitting lid over the pot to smother the flames and then turn off the heat
Day 11: Encourage smokers to smoke outside
- Careless smoking is one of the leading causes of fatal fires.
- If you do allow smoking indoors use large, deep ashtrays that can't be knocked over and make sure cigarette butts are properly extinguished.
Day 12: There's more to responsible drinking than taking a cab home
With all the festive cheer this holiday season, keep a close eye on anyone trying to cook or smoke while under the influence of alcohol. Alcohol is all too often a common factor in many fatal fires.
Read a printable version of the 12 Days of Fire Safety poster (PDF)
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Seasonal Fire Safety page for more great tips on how to stay safe this holiday season.