An appeal from the Saanich Fire Department:
Before stringing up lights and tucking presents under the tree, be sure to take a few fire-safety precautions to enjoy a festive holiday season.
“During the holidays, decorative trees and lighting are a major cause of fires, damaging property, endangering lives and upsetting seasonal celebrations,” says Saanich Fire Chief Michael Burgess. “These fires can easily be prevented by inspecting equipment and practicing fire-safety.”
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, holiday trees are involved in about 400 fires annually, resulting in 20 deaths, 70 injuries and an average of more than $15 million in property loss and damage.
Avoid turning celebration in to tragedy by practising the following holiday fire safety tips:
- Inspect light strings and ensure plugs are clean with no loose wires. Plug lights directly into outlets and limit use of extension cords. Ensure cords and wires are far away from heat sources and flammable materials.
- Place holiday trees away from ignition sources, including fireplaces, portable heaters and baseboard heaters. Keep fresh-cut trees moist by watering daily. Dispose of fresh trees properly as soon as seasonal celebrations finish.
- Place candles in candle holders, and keep them away from trees, children and flammable materials. Fully extinguish candles before leaving the room.
- Always attend cooking and keep an eye on the range during holiday meal preparation. Set timers as a reminder to check food.
- Keep fireplaces clean, and only burn seasoned wood. Recycle wrapping materials and dispose of ashes in a non-flammable container.
By making fire-safety part of holiday preparations, Saanich residents can enjoy safe celebrations this season.