Oegema, Nicholson & Associates Insurance Brokers Ltd.

Life gets busy in the chaos that can surround the holiday season. Between shopping for gifts, decorating your home, and entertaining family and friends, it’s easy to lose sight of safety precautions you can take to make the holidays safe and prevent a fire from happening in your home. We’re sharing a list of simple tasks you can do to make sure your home is ready and as safe as possible for this holiday season!

Water Your Tree

If your family choses real trees over fake, always choose a fresh tree and make sure you water your tree regularly, keeping water in the tree stand at all times. A dry tree is a recipe for disaster and can ignite easily if not watered sufficiently. Aside from keeping your tree’s trunk watered at all times, you should also keep it away from any source which could cause a fire to start. These include fireplaces, heaters and candles. After the holidays are done, do not burn your tree or any pieces of it in your fireplace – the heat is often too intense and can damage your fireplace. Check with your municipality about curbside tree pickup as many cities now offer these services.

Check Your Lights

Check all strings of lights before decorating with them. Look for signs of damage or fraying, replace any bulbs that are broken or not working, and replace any that show severe signs of wear or look to be unfit for further use.

You should also check that you are using lights for their intended purpose. Light packaging will specify whether they are for indoor or outdoor use and whether they are CSA approved. You should also make it a rule to use no more than three standard-size sets of lights per single extension cord, and develop a habit to turn off all lights when you are leaving the house or going to bed.

Test Your Alarms

Even if you take all precautions to prevent a fire, one can still occur. Take a quick moment to test your fire alarm and carbon monoxide alarm before the holiday festivities begin to ensure they are working. Along with testing the alarms, you should also make sure you have an escape plan in place in case of an emergency that requires you to get out of your home quickly.

Use Extension Cords Wisely

As mentioned above, the amount of power an extension cord is being used to supply electricity to should be limited. Extension cords should also be used sparingly when possible as they are only meant to be a temporary connection. As with lights, check extension cords for damage and never place an extension cord under a rug as this can damage the cord, overheat the cord causing a fire, and is a tripping hazard.

Candle Safety 101

Matches and lighters are usually kept handy to light holiday candles, but these items are incredibly dangerous if gotten a hold of by a child. Keep matches or lighters out of sight and reach of children at all times and be sure to blow all candles out when not being watched. Lit candles should also be placed out of reach of children and pets, and anything that could catch fire from the heat or flame itself, such as upholstery and decorations.

Careful In The Kitchen!

It’s easy to get distracted in the chaos of the holidays. The holidays are also a popular time for many to spend time in their kitchen doing some holiday baking or preparing full feasts, which is why extra caution should be used in this room. The most common cause of cooking fires is when cooking is left unattended, so be sure to stay with your cooking and limit any unnecessary distractions. This is even more important if you are cooking with oil or at high temperatures. If a fire does occur while you are cooking, carefully slide a tight-fitting lid over the pot to smother the flames and then turn off the heat and remember to never use water on a grease fire!

Responsible Drinking

Responsible drinking now means much more than just having a designated driver or taking a taxi home. If you, or someone you know has consumed alcohol, it is best to keep them from using the stove or stovetop, or smoking, as their impaired judgement could mean the difference between a happy holiday or a life-threatening accident or fire.

We hope these tips help you and your nearest and dearest stay safe this holiday season so you can enjoy your holidays to their fullest!


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