With the winter holidays almost upon us, the Office of the Fire Commissioner and Emergency Management BC are offering some fire safety advice to help ensure a happy and fire-safe holiday season for all British Columbians.
- Keep combustibles, such as trees, wrapping paper and decorations away from heat sources.
- Ensure your live tree stays fresh by watering it often, and dispose of it safely when it is dry.
- Choose flame-retardant or non-combustible decorations, and only use lights that have been tested and labelled by a certified testing laboratory. Consider energy-efficient LED lighting, which produces less heat and poses less of a fire risk.
- Always turn all incandescent decorative lights off before leaving home or going to sleep. Certified timers can be used to pre-set ‘on’ and ‘off’ times.
- Ensure electrical outlets are not overloaded.
- Stovetop fires can start in a flash. Always stay in the kitchen while food is cooking, and keep anything flammable at a safe distance from the stove.
- If you are celebrating the holidays with little ones, designate a kid-free zone around the stove and food preparation areas.
- Always place candle holders on a stable surface, and never leave lit candles unattended.
- Use non-combustible containers for tea lights and votive candles. Battery-operated candles are an excellent alternative.
- Keep children and pets away from lit candles.
Smoke alarms and fire escape planning
- Ensure that working smoke alarms are present on every level of your home and outside each sleeping area.
- Test and clean smoke alarms regularly and change batteries at least twice a year.
- Develop a fire escape plan, practise it regularly and designate at least two ways out of your home. Remember to share your emergency plan with your guests as well.
- Make sure holiday decorations do not block any exits.
EMBC works year-round with local governments to prepare for emergencies. For more information on how you and your household can get prepared, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/emergency-preparedness-response-recovery/preparedbc
- Household preparedness guide: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/public-safety-and-emergency-services/emergency-preparedness-response-recovery/embc/preparedbc/preparedbc_household_preparedness_guide_web_final_2015.pdf
- Household emergency plan: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/public-safety-and-emergency-services/emergency-preparedness-response-recovery/embc/preparedbc/preparedbc_household_emergency_plan.pdf
- How to build an emergency kit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/emergency-preparedness-response-recovery/preparedbc/build-an-emergency-kit
- More detailed preparedness and safety information on:
- Severe weather: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/emergency-preparedness-response-recovery/preparedbc/know-the-risks/severe-weather
- Power outages: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/emergency-preparedness-response-recovery/preparedbc/know-the-risks/power-outages
- Floods: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/emergency-preparedness-response-recovery/preparedbc/know-the-risks/floods
- Landslides: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/emergency-preparedness-response-recovery/preparedbc/know-the-risks/landslides
National Fire Protection Association Project Holiday: http://www.nfpa.org/public-education/by-topic/seasonal-fires/winter-holiday-safety
Electrical Safety Foundation International: http://www.esfi.org/resource/in-the-right-light-decorate-your-home-safely-during-the-holidays-567
Before you head out on the roads this winter, visit Drive BC at: http://www.drivebc.ca
and remember to “Shift into Winter.” For more details: https://shiftintowinter.ca/drive-for-the-conditions/
Contact the Office of the Fire Commissioner: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/emergency-preparedness-response-recovery/fire-safety
Christmas tree burn test: dry vs. hydrated: http://youtu.be/fbwkZe133o8