Safety Comes First
The flickering glow of candles and holiday decorations
will soon warm and lighten up many homes. Few things are
more relaxing and festive than the sweet aroma of burning
candles, the crackling of a fire or the scent and beauty
of a brightly lit pine tree.
To ensure all remains calm and bright in and around your
home this holiday season, be sure to take reasonable
Candles need to be displayed safely on a level surface in
sturdy, non-combustible holders which are large enough to
collect the dripping wax and which won't tip easily. Make
sure there are no flammable materials such as curtains
hanging over or near a burning candle.
Never leave a burning unattended. This is inviting
disaster. Always check that the flame has been complete
extinguished before you leave a room. And remember to
snuff out candles before you go to bed.
Place any lit candles beyond the reach of children and
pets, who are often fascinated by flame and may reach for
it. Never use lit candles to decorate a Christmas tree.
If a "real" tree is your tradition, ensure you buy a fresh
one. When inspecting cut trees, tap the trunk on the
ground. A fresh tree will not lose green needles. Before
setting the tree up, cut one inch off the trunk to help it
absorb water better. Your tree stand should be clean and
hold at least a gallon of water. The water level should be
checked every day.
Whether your tree is real or artificial, never place it
near the fireplace, floor heaters or other sources of
heat. To prevent the tree from tipping, secure it with a
wire to a nearby wall or other secure structure. Use
cool-burning bulbs to decorate the tree. And always turn
the tree lights out before leaving the house or going to
The selection and kinds of decorative lighting on the
market has never been greater. It's easy to get carried
away, overload outlets and create other electrical
hazards. Be imaginative, but avoid overloading sockets and
use adaptors as little as possible.
Also be careful with extension cords. Never connect more
than three light strands per extension cord and don't
place cords under rugs or in high traffic areas. Remember
that indoor lights are for indoor use and outdoor lights
are for outdoor use, and that the same goes for extension
Before stringing light strands on the tree and elsewhere,
check them for broken and loose bulbs and connections.
Plug the strand into an outlet to ensure all lights are
working and replace any that aren't before putting it up.
Also, string light strands around the tree before adding
any other decorations. Keep tinsel and other decorative
items away from the lights. And never use electric lights
on a metallic tree.
Other safety tips
ensure your home has smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
and check their batteries regularly. Also have a fire
extinguisher ready, just in case.
after a party, if you allow smoking indoors, check under
furnishings and cushions for smoldering cigarettes.
keep gifts out of sight and away from windows.
use timers on outside and inside lights, even when you are
home. Also, put a radio on a timer.
lock all doors and windows, even if you are only stepping
out for a few minutes.
trim or remove any trees or bushes near your home which
could hide a burglar's activity. Also have some outdoor
lights that are activated by motion sensors.
don't leave tools or toys lying around outside where they
can be easily stolen.
if you are leaving town for a few days:
cancel or arrange for a neighbour to pick up your mail and
don't leave a spare key in a "hiding place" outside your
have someone shovel the snow from the driveway and
if your home does not already have one, consider
installing an alarm system. These systems may not keep a
burglar from trying to get into your home, but they will
make a thief in a hurry or get caught before fleeing too
take photos or make a video of all your valuables and list
these in a home inventory with descriptions and serial
numbers. This will make things much easier if you ever
have to file for insurance coverage;
ensure your furnace has been serviced recently and that
your fireplace is well-maintained; and
treat a fireplace like a candle - never leave it