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Celebrate the holidays in a fire-safe home this year: OFC

The Officer of the Fire Commissioner is reminding everyone to keep fire safety habits at the top of their mind during the holidays.
Christmas tree and fire
Photo: Getty Images

Having a “fire-safe” home during the holidays is the message the Office of the Fire Commissioner (OFC) is reminding all B.C. residents this year.

According to the OFC, 113 Christmas-related fires in B.C. in the past decade have led to 15 injuries, four deaths and more than $14.5 million in damages.

“The majority of fires over the holiday season are a result of decorative lights being left on,” said Jennifer Rice, Parliamentary Secretary for Emergency Preparedness.

“The OFC also had reports of wreaths and boughs catching fire due to candles or improperly used lights. In one instance, a fire was caused by a person trying to burn their Christmas tree indoors, resulting in a chimney fire.”

Rice urges everyone to keep fire safety in their mind and how to “make the holiday season safer in their own homes.”

These are some tips from the OFC to stay fire-free this holiday:

  • Keep trees, wrapping paper, decorations and other things that can catch fire away from heat sources.
  • Water real trees daily and get rid of the tree after the holidays or when it has dried out.
  • Choose flame-retardant or non-combustible decorates and only use lights that have been tested and labelled by a certified testing lab.
  • Turn off light strings and decorations before leaving home or going to bed.
  • Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling or broiling food.
  • Never pour water on a grease fire. Smother flames by sliding a lid over the pan and turning the burner off.
  • Extinguish lit candles when you leave the room or go to bed.
  • Use candle holders that are sturdy and will not tip over easily.
  • Ensure smoke alarms are installed and working.
  • Develop a fire escape plan and practise it regularly.