SARC

10
Dec
2015
Have a (Fire) Safe and Merry Christmas!
10 Dec 2015
POSTED BY: Admin | Comments: 0
Twiiter

By: Don Epp

 

The holiday season is upon us! As we are busy getting ready for holiday celebrations with family and friends, it is important to prepare and plan with fire safety in mind as we get the house ready for all of the festivities. Food, decorations, lights, and candles are all part of the Christmas season and can also contribute to the increased risk of fires during the holidays. 

 

1.  Food is often at the center of holiday celebrations, and all of this extra cooking brings extra risks. According to Fire Fighting Canada, the kitchen is the most likely place a house fire will start. The following are a few tips to help keep your kitchen fire safe:

  • Keep an eye on the stove and do not leave cooking food unattended.
  • Keep the stove area clear of anything that can catch on fire, like oven mitts, tea towels, wood or plastic utensils, food packaging, curtains.
  • Know what to do if you have a grease or fat fire (the leading cause of kitchen fires in Canada):
    • Turn off the heat.
    • Smother the fire by putting a lid on the pot.
    • Use baking soda on shallow grease fires (tip: have a box of baking soda in your fridge for odor absorption so you will know where it is and how to get it quickly).  Large amounts of soda or salt will work at putting out a fire but do not put sugar or flour on the flames.
    • Do not turn on the overhead fan until the fire is out as it could potentially spread the fire.
    • Do not carry the pan off the stove.
    • Never throw water on a grease fire.

As always, reacquaint yourself with how to use your fire extinguisher and test your smoke/CO detectors regularly.  Also have pertinent information written down near the phone so when you call 911 you can be calm when you answer the dispatcher’s questions.  Often they will ask you what the nature is of your emergency (if you will need fire fighters, police, or ambulance), the exact address of your home and location of the emergency, a description of the emergency, and who is involved.  Do not hang up as the dispatcher may give you information and immediate assistance.

 

2. Christmas decorations and lights are always a highlight of the holiday season.  Safety is important to consider while setting up these decorations, especially when dealing with electrical. Here are a few tips for setting up Christmas lights safely:

  • Use extension cords appropriately. You cannot use indoor cords for outside uses, however; you can use an outdoor cord for indoor uses.  Do not connect shorter cords together, instead use a longer cord.
  • Like extension cords, indoor-rated light strings and pre-lit trees are for inside only.  Products marked for indoor use are not designed to hold up outside against Saskatchewan winters.
  • It is not recommended to hook up new LED lights with an old string of incandescent lights.
  • Do not run extension cords under carpets, or out windows or doorways where they could become pinched and cause a short or sparks.
  • Inspect light strings/sets and extension cords before use, and discard any that show signs of damage – cracked or broken sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections.
  • Insert plugs fully into outlets.  Poor contact can cause overheating or shock.
  • Make sure all of the decorative lighting is turned off before the last person in your household goes to bed.  A timer for outdoor lights is also a great idea.
  • Do not overload electrical outlets.
  • Keep all candles on a stable heat resistant surface. Make sure they are well away from flammable items and extinguished when no one is in the room.

 

3.  Setting up the Christmas tree and admiring the lights is another tradition of the season.  Whether you buy a live tree or set up an artificial tree consider these safety tips to keep your home safer.

  • If you buy a live tree make sure it is fresh, as this will greatly reduce the risk of fire. A fresh tree has needles that are hard to pull from the branch, they don’t break when you bend them between your fingers, and the base is sticky with resin. Keep the tree stand filled with water and monitor the water reservoir daily so the tree will not dry out.
  • Keep the tree away from heat sources such as vents, fireplaces and radiators.
  • An artificial tree should have a “fire resistant” label on it. Though the tree may be more resistant to catching fire, preventative measures should still be exercised.

I wish you all a very Merry and safe Christmas this year and all the best for the New Year!

 

 




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