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Holiday Fire Safety

Winter holidays are a time for families and friends to get together. But that also means a greater risk for fire. Following a few simple tips will ensure a happy and fire-safe holiday season.

Christmas Tree

  • Get a freshly cut tree. It will stay green longer and be less of a fire hazard. Try to pick a tree with a strong green colour and noticeable fragrance.
  • Always test for freshness before buying. A tree with high moisture content is safer. Very few needles should fall when the butt of the tree is tapped on the ground; needles should bend, not break; and the stump should be sticky with resin.
  • Trees are thirsty. They may drink up to four litres of water per day, so be sure to check daily and supply fresh water as needed. A stand that holds a least four litres of water is recommended.
  • If you allow the water level to drop below the bottom of the tree, a seal will form just as it does on a cut flower and a new cut will be necessary.
  • Get rid of the tree when it begins dropping needles. Dried-out trees are a fire danger and should not be left in the home or garage, or placed outside against the home.


  • Choose decorations that are flame resistant or flame retardant.
  • Keep lit candles away from decorations and other things that burn, blow out lit candles when you leave the room or go to bed.
  • Replace any string of lights that have worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections.
  • Use clips, not nails, to hang lights so the cords don't get damaged.


  • Pay attention when cooking. Cooking oil and grease fires are a major cause of fires and fatalities.
  • To put out a cooking oil fire, cover the pot with a lid or slide a cookie sheet over it. Don't try to remove the pot from the stove. The flaming oil can burn you or spread the fire.
  • If the fire doesn't go out right away, leave the house and call the fire department from a neighbour's house.
  • Keep the area around your stove free from items that could catch fire easily.
  • Test your smoke alarms and tell guests about your home fire escape plan.

Print this poster to keep holiday fire safety information nearby.