Fire and Safety Guidelines

Home fire safety tips for the holidays

  • Make sure you have working smoke alarms on every storey.
  • Make sure you have working carbon monoxide alarms.
  • Be sure everyone knows how to get out if there is a fire.
  • Be responsible when consuming alcohol.
  • Smokers should butt-out in large deep ashtrays.
  • Never leave burning candles unattended.
  • Keep candles in a sturdy holder away from children, pets and anything that can burn.
  • When you go out, always blow out candles.
  • Keep matches and lighter out of the sight and reach of children.
  • Do not leave cooking unattended.
  • Keep space heaters at least one metre away from anything flammable.
  • Use extension cods wisely and never have them underneath rugs etc.
  • Discard any frayed or damaged cords.
  • Do no overload outlets.
  • Never burn gift wrappings, boxes, cartons, or other types of packing in the fireplace. They burn too fast and generate too much heat. 

Christmas tree safety

  • Get a freshly cut tree.
  • Test for freshness before buying. Very few needles should fall and the stump should be sticky with resin.
  • Put the tree in a stand that will hold 2 to 3 litres of water and top it up daily.
  • Never use lighted candles on the tree.
  • Do not put your tree up near a heat source such as a radiator or fireplace.
  • Your tree should not block doors or windows.
  • Remove the tree within 10 to 14 days.
  • Do not use the Christmas tree for firewood.

Decoration and lights safety

  • Choose decorations that are flame-retardant.
  • Avoid using angel hair (glass wool) together with spray-on snowflakes. This combination is highly combustible.
  • Do not hang Christmas stockings from the fireplace mantel when the fireplace is in use.
  • Indoors or outside, always use Canadian Standards Association (CSA) approved light strings/sets.
  • Use no more than three standard-size sets of lights per single extension cord.
  • Do not use electric light strings/sets on metallic trees.
  • Fasten outdoor lights securely to trees, house walls, or other firm supports to protect the lights from wind damage. Use only insulated staples, not nails or tacks, or hooks (avaialble at hardware stores) to hold strings in place.
  • Turn off all tree and display lights before going to bed or leaving the house.

Multilingual fire safety information

General fire safety tips

Make sure that everyone knows the sound of the smoke alarm and what to do if a fire occurs. Regularly practice your home escape plan.

  • Hear the beep where you sleep! Every bedroom needs a working smoke alarm!
  • Install at least one carbon monoxide detector
  • Test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors regularly
  • Clean barbecues before use
  • Have flash light and extra batteries on hand
  • Check heating appliances and chimney before use
  • Check with local fire department on open air burning by-laws
  • If you smoke, do so outside and keep a can of water nearby to discard cigarette butts

Check out these fire safety videos.