christmas lights

Hearth and Home for the Holidays

Keeping your family and home safe over the holidays is the most important holiday tradition. To keep any and all Christmas fires confined to the fireplace – or for the more modern, the digital burning log – follow these Christmas Safety Tips:

Screen Shot 2014-12-13 at 8.36.21 AMFireplaces & Candles:

  • Have the chimney cleaned and inspected at least once a year.
  • Burn hardwood, which leaves less creosote (a flammable dark residue) in the chimney.
  • Make sure the fire is out before going to bed or leaving the room. Always use a secure and suitable screen in front of your fireplace, see the manufacturer’s recommendation.
  • Keep children and pets away from gas fireplaces and open flames.
  • Never leave burning candles unattended or positioned too closely to tree decorations or wrapping paper.
  • Cut candle wicks short to prevent high flames.
  • If candles are used in a centerpiece, make sure they are in a sturdy holder and don’t burn low enough to ignite the decorations or table.

Trees and lights:

  • When buying a real tree, make sure it’s fresh (you can tell if the needles are hard to pull off). Store it in a cool, sheltered area until you bring it indoors for decorating.
  • Place in a well-secured stand. Water real trees daily to prevent dryness – an increased fire risk.
  • Place the tree away from heating vents, radiators, stoves, fireplaces and burning candles.
  • Keep metal tree ornaments and decorations – which may contain lead – away from young children and pets.
  • Remove the tree right after the holidays or as soon as the needles start to fall to avoid a potential fire hazard.
  • Be sure to use indoor lights inside your home and outdoor lights outside. Only use lights that have been certified by a recognized organization such as CSA, LUC or C-UL
  • Check the light strings and extension cords you use, discarding any that are frayed or have exposed wires, loose connections or broken light sockets. Never run electrical cords through doorways or under carpets.
  • Don’t overload electrical outlets. Use more than one outlet if the wattage of your lights is more than the outlet can handle.

Courtesy of the Insurance Bureau of Canada and Health Canada