Holiday fire safety









Be Safe Everyone

Victoria Thursday, December 21, 2017 1:30 PM

With the winter holidays almost upon us, the Office of the Fire Commissioner and Emergency Management BC are offering some fire safety advice to help ensure a happy and fire-safe holiday season for all British Columbians.



  • Keep combustibles, such as trees, wrapping paper and decorations away from heat sources.
  • Ensure your live tree stays fresh by watering it often, and dispose of it safely when it is dry.
  • Choose flame-retardant or non-combustible decorations, and only use lights that have been tested and labelled by a certified testing laboratory.
  • Consider energy-efficient LED lighting, which produces less heat and poses less of a fire risk.
  • Always turn all incandescent decorative lights off before leaving home or going to sleep. Certified timers can be used to pre-set ‘on’ and ‘off’ times.
  • Ensure electrical outlets are not overloaded.

Cooking safety

  • Stovetop fires can start in a flash. Always stay in the kitchen while food is cooking, and keep anything flammable at a safe distance from the stove.
  • If you are celebrating the holidays with little ones, designate a kid-free zone around the stove and food preparation areas.

Candle safety

  • Always place candle holders on a stable surface, and never leave lit candles unattended.
  • Use non-combustible containers for tea lights and votive candles. Battery-operated candles are an excellent alternative.
  • Keep children and pets away from lit candles.

Smoke alarms and fire escape planning

  • Ensure that working smoke alarms are present on every level of your home and outside each sleeping area.
  • Test and clean smoke alarms regularly and change batteries at least twice a year.
  • Develop a fire escape plan, practise it regularly and designate at least two ways out of your home. Remember to share your emergency plan with your guests as well.
  • Make sure holiday decorations do not block any exits.

Learn More:

Holiday Fire Safety website:

EMBC works year-round with local governments to prepare for emergencies.

For more information on how you and your household can get prepared, visit:

For tips on how to stay safe, follow Emergency Management BC on Twitter: @EmergencyInfoBC (
and PreparedBC: @PreparedBC (

National Fire Protection Association Project Holiday:

Electrical Safety Foundation International:

Before you head out on the roads this winter, visit Drive BC at:
and remember to “Shift into Winter.” For more details:

Contact the Office of the Fire Commissioner:

Christmas tree burn test: dry vs. hydrated:

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