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‘Tis the season… to make sure your home is safe for all your family and friends.

The holiday season brings joy, family, and festiveness, but it also brings a host of potential hazards. As you turn up the volume on that holiday playlist and get to baking those seasonal goods, take a beat to go through your home to mitigate the risk of some of these common holiday hazards.

Setting up your tree

Christmas tree fires are rare, but they are extremely dangerous when they happen. They’re rarely the source of the fire themselves; rather, they usually fuel a fire caused by something else. You can avoid Christmas tree fires by:

  • Picking a fresh tree: Fresh trees aren’t dried out, making them much less flammable. Green, soft, and flexible needles that don’t easily fall off are a sign of a fresh tree. The needles should bend, but not break.

  • Keeping it moist: A dry tree burn can burn faster than newspaper. It can turn a spark or a small blaze into a raging house fire, which is why it’s so important to keep your tree watered. If you shake your tree and a lot of needles fall out, it’s a sign your tree isn’t getting enough water. 

  • Placing your tree at least 3 feet away from heat sources: Place your tree a safe distance from any heat sources like a fireplace or heat vents. And of course, don’t place your tree near any open flames. 

  • Inspecting your tree lights: Spot any broken bulbs or frayed wires? It’s time to get rid of those lights.

  • Make sure it’s stable: Buy a suitable tree stand to ensure your tree is secure. This’ll prevent a wobbly tree from toppling on your cat or your younger guests.

Get lit (safely)

Almost half of Christmas tree fires happen due to electrical issues. Here’s how to light up your holiday season safely. 

  • Don’t overload your extension cords: The Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs recommends that people use no more than three standard-size sets of lights for each single extension cord. 
  • Don’t use indoor and outdoor lights interchangeably: Indoor lights aren’t designed to withstand the elements, so if you use them outside, you can increase the risk of a fire.
  • Use Canadian Standards Association (CSA)-approved lights: You can find approved lights at common retailers, like Home Depot.
  • Put your lights to bed, too: Before you turn in for the night, turn off your lights to avoid a short out that causes a fire.
  • Keep an eye on those candles: Candles add a nice touch, but be sure to keep a watchful eye on them. Don’t leave candles unattended and keep them far, far away from your tree.

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Look out for your pets and kids 

As the drinks flow and your guests pass around platters piled high with delectable treats, be sure to keep an eye on what your kids or pets get their paws on. 

Take these important steps to keep your little ones safe: 

  • Dump those leftover drinks: It’s easy for one of your kids to pick up a half-full glass of wine left on the counter. Ask your guests to dump any drinks they don’t plan to finish so nothing is lying around.

  • Communicate allergies to your guests: While your adult guests will be more mindful of what they eat, children may pick up anything that a well-meaning friend brings over as a treat. Let your guests know of any potential allergies, before they bring something over for the potluck.

  • Keep an eye on what your furry friend laps up: Chocolates and sweet treats are popular this time of year, but they shouldn’t be for your dog. Be sure to pick up any that may fall on the ground, before your canine friend has a chance to snag them.

Prepare for a safe, joyful holiday season 

It’s the most wonderful time of year, but that doesn’t mean we can’t make it the safest time of year, too. 

Keep your eye out for some of these common holiday hazards for a joyous holiday filled with love and laughter!

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