Stay careful this Christmas with tips from Clarington Fire Department

Stay careful this Christmas with tips from Clarington Fire Department
By Jennifer O'Meara
Clarington This Week
Link to article: Stay careful this Christmas with tips from Clarington Fire Department

It’s the happiest time of the year, and the Clarington Fire and Emergency Services would like it to stay that way for residents. Clarington Fire Chief Gord Weir and Fire Prevention Officer Randy Reinert offered some holiday safety tips to help everyone have a fun, festive season.

DECORATING

• Choose decorations that are non-flammable or flame resistant.

• Some lights are for indoor use and some for outdoor but not both. Indoor holiday lights aren’t suited to getting wet outside and outdoor lights can overheat inside.

• Replace any string of lights that have worn or broken cords.

• Use clips, not nails to hang lights so cords don’t get damaged.

• Buy good quality extension cords.

• Don’t overload extension cords with too many plugs.

CANDLES

“Candles are beautiful but you should only use them when you’re in the room,” Chief Weir said.

• Keep lit candles away from decorations or anything flammable.

• Keep children and pets away from lit candles.

• Keep matches and lighters in a high cabinet away from kids.

• Use sturdy candle holders.

• Blow out candles before leaving the room, leaving the home or going to bed.

• Consider using flameless artificial candles instead.

“I just have battery-operated candles in my house,” said Reinert. “If you have children or pets, you have to be especially careful.”

TREES

• Choose a Christmas tree with fresh, green needles.

• Cut at least two inches off the base of the trunk.

• Place the tree at least three feet away from heating vents, radiators or fireplaces.

• Make sure the tree is not blocking any exits.

• Add water to the tree stand every day.

• Never use lit candles to decorate a tree.

• Always turn off Christmas tree lights before going out or going to bed.

• After the holidays dried-out trees are a fire hazard. Don’t store it in the garage, get rid of it.

COOKING

• Always stay in the kitchen while cooking.

• Drink responsibility while cooking.

• Cooking fires account for 19 per cent of all home fires during the holidays and 27 per cent of all home fire injuries occur in cooking fires during the holidays.

• If a pot catches fire, carefully slip a lid over the pot and turn off the heat.

“Don’t leave the room, or take an oven mitt with you so you remember you’re cooking,” said Reinert.

DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE

“If you’re going to be out enjoying some festive cheer, plan that safe ride home,” said Chief Weir. “Please don’t drink and drive.”

SAFETY

• Test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors monthly.

• In 34 per cent of fatal home fires, there is no smoke alarm working.

• Install smoke alarms on every storey of your home and outside all sleeping areas.

• CO detectors are required outside all sleeping areas if your home has a fuel-burning appliance, fireplace or attached garage.

“It’s a thoughtful Christmas gift: a carbon monoxide detector and smoke alarm,” said Reinert.

“Give batteries as stocking stuffers or give a kitchen fire extinguisher,” said Chief Weir.

• If the CO alarm sounds, get everyone outside to fresh air.

• Don’t barbecue or run a generator indoors.

• Have chimneys inspected by a professional every year before lighting the first fire.

“If there’s a venting issue, it can cause CO to build up in the home,” said Chief Weir.

• Don’t crowd space heaters, keep them at least three feet away from anything that can catch fire

SNOW AND ICE

• Make sure vents for the dryer, furnace, stove and fireplace aren’t blocked by snowdrifts.

• Clear the piles of snow from around fire hydrants so firefighters can hook up quickly during an emergency.

• Keep children and pets off creeks and ponds, the water may not be fully frozen yet.

• With winter weather coming, be prepared for 72 hours without power — have extra water and food, a battery-powered radio, etc.

• When driving on winter roads have snow tires, extra blankets, an ice scraper,  charged cellphones, etc.

• Visit www.emergencymanagementontario.ca for more information on building an emergency preparedness kit.

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