Seasonal Safety Tips

Holiday Season Fire SafetyFire Safety - this Holiday Season

The holiday season is a time to gather with friends and family.  Local fire departments have responded to an extraordinarily high number of fires already during this pre-holiday season, due to both unattended cooking and burning candles. The Tri-City Fire Departments recommend the following simple tips to help keep you, your family and your home safe this holiday season.

Christmas Trees

  • Visit the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) - Fire Safety for the Holidays to see a video demonstrates the how quickly the fire can develop when a DRY tree is exposed to an open flame.
  • If using a fresh cut tree – select one with a strong green colour and the needles are difficult to pull from the branches.
  • Make a fresh cut off the bottom of the tree and be sure to immerse the trunk in water.  Replenish daily.
  • Place your tree at least 1 m (3’) clear from any heat sources and clear of all exits.
  • If the tree is artificial, be sure that it is labeled, certified or identified by the manufacturer as fire-retardant. 

Holiday Lights

  • Check all light sets prior to using.  Discard any frayed or damaged sets.
  • Use approved light sets only.  DO NOT OVERLOAD CIRCUITS.
  • Always turn off the lights before leaving home or going to bed.
  • Use proper clips instead of staples to hang outdoor lights.


  • Space heaters should always be plugged directly into an outlet – never use an extension cord.
  • Turn off space heaters when the room is not occupied or when going to bed.
  • Always keep all combustibles at least 1 m (3’) clear of space heaters. 
  • Ensure all your home-heating appliances (furnace, gas fireplace, wood-burning appliances & chimneys) are in good, clean working condition and serviced on a regular basis.


  • Extinguish all candles when leaving the room or going to sleep.
  • Keep candles at least 30 cm (1’) away from anything that can burn; such as clothing, bedding, books, curtains or Christmas trees.
  • Use sturdy non-tip, non- combustible candle holders that are large enough to collect dripping wax.
  • If a power outage occurs, use a flashlight instead of candles.
  • Choose battery operated “flameless” candles as a great alternative to open flame candles. They are readily available and add a nice ambiance to your home without the risk.


  • Never leave cooking unattended, especially when cooking with oil or grease.
  • If a pot catches fire, carefully slide a tight fitting lid over the pot to smother the flames. 
  • If a fire ignites on the stove, in the oven or in the microwave oven; turn off the heat source.
  • Never use water on a grease fire.


Have a safe and happy holiday season from Coquitlam Fire/Rescue.

Fire Prevention Division
1300 Pinetree Way, Coquitlam, B.C. V3B 7S4