Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Holiday Safety

Each year as the holiday season approaches we all bustle about with enthusiasm. People thinking of parties and presents, reconnecting with old friends and family even if it is just through a Christmas card those wonderful things that show up in your mail box instead of just bills, and flyers. It’s a great season, but also a very busy one as we seem to love to decorate our homes, relocate furniture and get everything just right. The problem can be though that in our haste to get the job done, we forget about fire safety and the consequences that can and do arise.

With that in mind I’ve gathered some tips from a variety of places that will ensure Holiday cheer, instead of Christmas living in someone else’s house as you fight with the insurance company.

The Christmas tree

  • Get a freshly cut tree. It will stay green longer and be less of a fire hazard. Try to pick a tree with a strong green colour and noticeable fragrance. A tree with high moisture content is safer. Very few needles should fall when the butt of the tree is tapped on the ground; needles should bend, not break; and the stump should be sticky with resin.
  • Place the tree in a stand that will hold 2 to 3 litres of water and top it up daily. Make sure it is always immersed in water: If water drops below the trunk, the stem may reseal itself, requiring a fresh cut.
  • Do not set your tree up near a heat source such as a radiator, television, fireplace, heating duct or sunny window. It should not block doors or windows.
  • Never use lighted candles on the tree, or even near it.

Decorations

  • Choose decorations that are flame-retardant, non-combustible and non-conductive.
  • If there are young children or pets in your home, avoid very small decorations.
  • Avoid using angel hair (glass wool) together with spray-on snowflakes. This combination is highly combustible.

Lights

  • Use the proper lights for the environment. Indoor light strings/sets should not be used outdoors because they lack weatherproof connections. Some outdoor light strings/sets burn too hot indoors.
  • Inspect light strings/set before use. Check for cracked bulbs and for frayed, broken or exposed wires, and discard if faulty.
  • Do not use electric light strings/sets on metallic trees. A faulty system could energize the tree and shock or electrocute anyone coming into contact. Illuminate metallic trees with colored floodlights placed at a safe distance from the tree and out of reach.
  • Turn off all tree and display lights before retiring for the night or before leaving the house.

Candles

  • Place candles away from absolutely anything that could catch fire.
  • Never leave burning candles unattended.
  • Put candles in sturdy holders on a stable surface, well away from drafts, curtains, children and pets.
  • Snuff them out before leaving the room or going to sleep.

The Fireplace

  • Never burn gift wrappings, boxes, cartons, or other types of packing in the fireplace. They burn too rapidly and generate far too much heat.
  • Don't hang Christmas stockings from the mantel when the fireplace is in use.
  • Always use a screen in front of the fireplace to protect against flying sparks.
  • Never use gasoline or any other flammable liquids to start a fire.
  • Never leave the fire unattended or let it smoulder.

Electrical Outlets

  • There is often a tendency to overload wall outlets during the holiday season. This is an unsafe practice and should be avoided even for short durations.
  • Inspect all cords before using. Look for loose connections or frayed or exposed wire. Discard any defective cords. Read the labels and manufacturer's instructions to ensure proper use.
  • Insert plugs fully into outlets. Poor contact may cause overheating or shock.
  • To avoid possible overheating, do not coil or bunch an extension cord which is in use and do not run it under carpets or rugs.

The Kitchen

Grease and fat fires are a leading cause of home fires in Canada, so be extra careful when doing this kind of cooking. Here's what to do if grease in a pot or pan catches fire:

  • Keep a Fire Extinguisher in the kitchen, and make sure everyone know where it is and how to use it.
  • Smother the flames by covering the pan with a lid.
  • Turn off the heat immediately.
  • With all the festive cheer this time of year, keep a close eye on anyone attempting to cook or smoke while under the influence of alcohol. Alcohol is all too often a common factor in many fatal fires.
  • Never turn on the overhead fan, as this could spread the fire.
  • Never throw water on a grease fire.

Gift Suggestions

  • Home smoke alarm
  • Carbon monoxide detector
  • Multi-purpose (ABC) fire extinguisher

Last but not least ... make sure your fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, and CO detectors work!  

If you can make it burn, we can put it out!

Posted by Rob Read at 9:46 AM 0 Comments