Be fire safe this holiday season

Dec 12, 2013 2 minute read

The holiday season is a great time to entertain with friends and family. More than likely you will be bringing out the fondue set, lighting candles, enjoying the fireplace, and even charging your wireless device.  One of the things to be aware of, however, is the risk of fire in your home during the holidays. By preparing and considering your risks, you can still enjoy the season while being fire smart.

Fire Extinguisher

If you don’t have a fire extinguisher in your home, consider purchasing one. It is essential to familiarize yourself with your extinguisher by understanding how and when to use it. Only try to use an extinguisher if the fire is small and contained.  If is not, immediately leave your home and call 911. Always make sure you have an escape route planned.

There are three types of fire extinguishers commonly used in homes. Each of them is designed to fight a different type of fire. According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC), a class A extinguisher is designed to fight combustible materials such as wood, paper or plastic, while a class B should be used for flammable liquids, such as gasoline. If a fire is caused by your electrical wiring or household appliances, you should use a class C rated fire extinguisher.

Using the wrong type of extinguisher can fuel the fire or cause an electric shock. Some fire extinguishers can be used for all three types of fires and are labelled as ABC extinguishers. Read the manufacturer’s instructions to find out how to use and maintain your extinguisher regularly.

Candles

Candles are great ambience while entertaining, but if not properly maintained can cause a fire. According to IBC, a third of fires from a candle were a result of it being left unattended or placed on a flammable surface.   A few basic tips to follow for candle safety include trimming the wicks (even before you first use the candle), use candle holders and ensure they are wide enough to catch any wax, don’t place candles in high traffic areas  or within reach of children, and ensure all candles are extinguished before going to bed.

Fireplaces

Use a manufacturer-approved screen in front of your fireplace. Never leave your fireplace unattended while on and remember the glass screen is hot and not to touch it. Be sure to hire a professional to inspect and clean your chimney. Check and maintain your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors and replace batteries at least once a year. Although it’s tempting to burn wrapping paper as you open gifts, this is very dangerous and could result in a flash fire.

Electronics

Just like candles, don’t leave your electronics unattended while charging. According to the Canada Safety Council, cell phones, tablets, battery rechargers should be safely charged in an area clear of flammable items, such as near your bed, furniture or tabletops. Try to recharge your items while at home, so you can keep a watchful eye. When electronics are not in use, be sure to turn them off. Never place non-rechargeable batteries in a charger and always replace batteries at least twice a year.

Fire escape route

It is a good idea to practice fire drills and review all available escape routes from different parts of your home or apartment. Never take the elevator in the case of a fire, know the location of fire alarms and make sure you know your emergency numbers. Learn more about fire prevention and fire safety and consider creating an emergency preparedness plan.

Make fire safety part of your holiday tradition so you can enjoy all the treats that come with this special time of the year.   If you have any questions about your home or tenants insurance contact your BrokerLink broker.