December 15 2020
HAMILTON, ON - With the holiday season upon us, it is important to pay special attention to fire safety. The holidays pose specific dangers with the increased use of candles, more cooking in the kitchen and decorated Christmas trees. Fire Chief David Cunliffe is urging everyone to take some simple precautions to keep the holidays safe and joyful.
Fire Safety Tips for the Holiday Season
- Place lit candles away from anything that can burn and out of the reach of children and pets so they can’t be knocked over. Remember to snuff out candles before leaving the room or going to bed. Consider using battery-operated or electric flameless candles.
- Make sure the base of real Christmas trees are immersed in water at all times to prevent them from getting too dry.
- Check all sets of decorative lights before putting them up and discard any sets that are damaged.
- Avoid running electrical cords under rugs which can damage the cord and cause a fire. Do not overload extension cords and circuits.
- Drink responsibly. Attempting to cook or smoke while under the influence of alcohol is too often a contributing factor in fatal fires.
- Always stay in the kitchen when cooking and turn off the stove if you must leave the kitchen.
- Make sure smoking materials are fully extinguished in large, deep ashtrays – not in plant pots which may contain peat moss or shredded bark that can easily ignite. Ashes should be emptied in a metal container – not the garbage can – and put outside.
- Develop and practice a home fire escape plan so that everyone in your home knows what to do if the smoke or CO alarms sound.
The Hamilton Fire Department also reminds you to maintain working smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms in your home. Smoke alarms should be installed on every storey of your home and outside all sleeping areas. CO alarms are required outside all bedrooms. Test your smoke and CO alarms every month and install new batteries if needed.
“While fire can happen anywhere, at anytime, it most often strikes when we let our guard down – when we’re distracted by the hustle and bustle of the holidays, by our cellphones, by the kids or by the doorbell. All it takes is for a pot to be left on the stove, or a candle left burning unattended, and a family’s holiday celebrations can quickly turn to tragedy. Please take extra caution to enjoy a safe holiday season by preventing fires from starting in the first place.”
- David Cunliffe, Fire Chief, Hamilton Fire Department
- Unattended cooking is the leading cause of residential structure fires. Last year, there were 24 fires due to unattended cooking in Hamilton.
- Smoking is a leading cause of fires during the holiday season. In Hamilton, 28.6 per cent of holiday fire injuries and 33 per cent of holiday fire deaths were caused by careless smoking in the last five years.