According to Ottawa Fire Services, the holiday period is historically one of the most dangerous times of the year.
The department has launched a campaign called “12 Days of Holiday Fire Safety” that offers one tip every day from Dec. 20 to Dec. 31 to help citizens protect their family and home, reduce losses from fires, and enjoy a safe and happy holiday season.
Following these tips will prevent the most common types of home fires over the holidays. These safety tips are summarized below:
Day 1: Water fresh Christmas trees daily. Keep the base of the trunk in water at all times, and keep your tree away from the fireplace, heaters, candles, and any other source of ignition.
Day 2: Check all sets of lighting, including the cords, before decorating to ensure they are in good condition. Discard any frayed or damaged sets.
Day 3: Make sure you have working smoke alarms on every floor of the house and outside all sleeping areas. Test all your alarms to ensure they will alert you if a fire occurs, and give you the precious seconds you need to escape safely. Replace smoke alarms that are over 10 years old.
Day 4: Make sure you have working carbon monoxide alarms. Carbon monoxide is an invisible, odourless, deadly gas that can kill you quickly. Replace any carbon monoxide alarms over seven years old.
Day 5: Make sure everyone knows how to get out safely if a fire occurs. Practice a home fire escape plan with all family members and ensure someone helps young children and older adults or anyone else who may need help to evacuate. Once outside, stay outside and call 911 from a cellphone or a neighbour’s house.
Day 6: Use extension cords wisely. Only use extension cords as a temporary connection, and never have them go under rugs, as this can damage the cord and cause a fire.
Day 7: Give space heaters space. Keep them at least one metre (3 feet) away from curtains, upholstery, or decorations.
Day 8: When you go out, leave the room, or go to bed, blow out all candles. Keep lit candles away from children and pets, and anything that can burn, such as curtains, upholstery, or decorations.
Day 9: Keep matches and lighters out of sight and reach of children. If you smoke, have only one lighter or book of matches and keep them with you at all times.
Day 10: Watch what you heat! Stay in the kitchen when cooking, especially if using oil or high temperatures. If a pot catches fire, slide a tight-fitting lid carefully over the pot to smother the flames, and then turn off the heat.
Day 11: Encourage smokers to smoke outside. If you do allow smoking indoors, use large, deep ashtrays that cannot be knocked over, and ensure cigarette butts are properly extinguished.
Day 12: Keep a close eye on anyone in your household who consumes alcohol while cooking or smoking. Remember that alcohol is often a common factor in many fatal fires.
For more information, visit ottawa.ca.
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