Seasonal Safety Tips

Holiday Season Fire Safety

The holiday season is a time to gather with friends and family. Coquitlam Fire/Rescue recommend the following tips to help keep you, your family and your home safe.

Holiday Lights
Flipping a light switch. Plugging in a coffeemaker. Charging a laptop computer. These are second nature for most of us. Electricity makes our lives easier. However, we need to be cautious and keep safety in mind with electricity. During the holiday season, we have even more items to plug in such as Christmas lights. Remember to use approved light sets only and do not overload circuits. Check all light sets prior to using, discarding any frayed or damaged sets and use proper clips instead of staples to install outdoors. Always turn off the lights before leaving home or going to bed.

Christmas Trees
If using a fresh cut tree, select one that's needles are difficult to pull off the branches, make a fresh cut off the bottom, immerse the trunk in water (replenishing daily) and place it at least 1 m (3') away from heat sources. If your tree is artificial, be sure that it is fire-retardant.

Candles
Choose battery-operated “flameless” candles as a great alternative to open-flame candles. If using open-flame candles, place them in a sturdy, non-tip candleholder at least 30 cm (1’) away from anything that can burn. Extinguish all candles when leaving the room or going to sleep. Read our tip sheet for more info.

Heating
There is something about the winter months and curling up with a good book by the fireplace. But did you know that heating equipment is one of the leading causes of home fire deaths? With a few simple safety tips and precautions, you can prevent most heating fires from happening.

Ensure all your home-heating appliances (furnace, gas fireplace, wood-burning appliances and chimneys) are in good, clean working condition and serviced regularly. Space heaters should always be plugged directly into an outlet (never use an extension cord), turned off when you leave the room or go to sleep, and combustibles kept at least 1 m (3’) away. Read this tip sheet for more info.

Carbon Monoxide Safety
Called the silent killer, carbon monoxide is an invisible, odorless, colorless gas created when fuels (such as gasoline, wood, coal, natural gas, propane, oil, and methane) burn incompletely in the home. The carbon monoxide that builds up inside the home, can cause serious illness and can be fatal. Inside a home, there are types of heating and cooking equipment that burn fuel and these can be sources of carbon monoxide. Read this tip sheet for more info.

Cooking
Cooking brings family and friends together, provides an outlet for creativity, and can be relaxing. But did you know that cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires and home injuries? Never leave cooking unattended, especially when using oil or grease. If a fire ignites on the stove, in the oven or in the microwave, turn off the heat source. Carefully slide a tight fitting lid over a pot to smother flames if it catches fire and never use water on a grease fire. Read this tip sheet for more info.

Smoke Alarms

Smoke alarms save lives and should be on every level of a home. Every member of the household should know what the smoke alarm sounds like and what actions they should take in an emergency, such as adhering to the steps in a family emergency escape plan ​including routes to get out of your house and heading to the designated meeting place. Our Fire Safety Education webpage has more information on Smoke Alarms and general home safety info.

Coquitlam Fire/Rescue wish everyone a safe and happy holiday season!

Fire Prevention Division
1300 Pinetree Way, Coquitlam, B.C. V3B 7S4
604-927-6433
firerescue@coquitlam.ca