The Office of the Fire Commissioner is offering tips to ensure families have a safe holiday season. (OFC graphic)

The Office of the Fire Commissioner is offering tips to ensure families have a safe holiday season. (OFC graphic)

Fire Commissioner offers safe holiday tips for Okanagan-Shuswap homes

Fire risk can accompany seasonal trimmings and celebrations

Holiday signs are everywhere.

Lights are strung on people’s homes and decorated trees stand in front of windows.

But hidden underneath the sparkle is the fire risk that can accompany seasonal trimmings and celebrations.

The Office of the Fire Commissioner (OFC) asks everyone to be fire safe in their homes this year.

There have been 113 Christmas-related fires in the past decade in B.C. This has led to 15 injuries, four deaths and more than $14.5 million in damage.

“The majority of fires over the holiday season are a result of decorative lights being left on, being improperly used or being faulty,” said Jennifer Rice, parliamentary secretary for emergency preparedness. “The OFC has also had reports of wreaths and boughs catching fire due to candles or improperly used lights. In one instance, a fire was caused by a person trying to burn their Christmas tree indoors, resulting in a chimney fire.

“I urge everyone to keep fire safety top of mind and consider how they can make the holiday season safer in their own homes.”

Here are some tips from the OFC to reduce your own fire risk and keep your loved ones safe.

Decorating

  • Keep trees, wrapping paper, decorations and other things that can catch fire away from heat sources.
  • Ensure a real tree stays fresh and green by watering it daily. Get rid of the tree after the holidays or when it has dried out. Many communities run Christmas tree recycle programs.
  • 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.
  • Turn off all light strings and decorations before leaving home or going to bed.
  • Ensure electrical outlets are not overloaded.

Cooking safety

  • Have a “kid-free zone” of at least one metre around the stove and areas where hot food or drink is prepared or carried.
  • Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.
  • If you are simmering, baking, roasting or boiling food, check it regularly. Remain in the home while food is cooking and use a timer to remind you that you are cooking.
  • Never pour water on a grease fire. On the stove top, smother the flames by sliding a lid over the pan and turning off the burner. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled.
  • For an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed. After a fire, the oven should be checked and/or serviced before being used again.

Candle safety

Extinguish lit candles when you leave the room or go to bed.

Use candle holders that are sturdy and will not tip over easily, and put candle holders on a sturdy, uncluttered surface. Battery-operated candles are an excellent alternative.

Keep children and pets away from lit candles.

Smoke alarms and fire escape planning

Ensure working smoke alarms are installed on every level of the 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 have at least two ways out of a home. Remember to share this emergency plan with guests as well.

Regardless of the season, or how you and your loved ones celebrate the holidays, it is important to be ready for any emergency. For further information on how to prepare for any emergency situation, visit: www.preparedbc.ca.

READ MORE: Columbia Shuswap Regional District benefits from COVID grant



roger@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

fire

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The organizer of a Kelowna protest against COVID-19 restrictions was fined by the RCMP for the third time Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021. (File photo)
COVID-19: Organizer of Kelowna anti-restriction protest ticketed for third time

The individual’s latest ticket for $2,300 was handed out by RCMP at an anti-lockdown rally Saturday

Mount Boucherie Secondary School is one of three Kelowna schools with confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to an update from the school district Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021. (File photo)
COVID-19 confirmed at 3 Kelowna schools

Interior Health has confirmed exposures at Mount Boucherie, Springvalley and South Rutland schools

A map released by the BCCDC on Jan. 15 shows the number of new COVID-19 cases reported for each local health area between Jan. 3 and 9. (BCCDC Image)
Salmon Arm and Vernon see increase in new COVID cases, curve flattening elsewhere

The rate of new cases is levelling off in Kelowna, Penticton and Revelstoke.

(BC Conservation Service)
Hunter charged, fined for poaching immature moose in West Kelowna

Richard Fischer pled guilty to two charges under the BC Wildlife Act

Interior Health update. File photo.
86 new COVID-19 cases, two more deaths in Interior Health

The new deaths are from Heritage Square, a long-term care facility in Vernon

Keith the curious kitten is seen on Nov. 4, 2020 at the Chilliwack SPCA. Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 is Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 17 to 23

Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day, Pie Day and International Sweatpants Day are all coming up this week

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
‘Targeted’ shooting in Coquitlam leaves woman in hospital

The woman suffered non-life threatening injuries in what police believe to be a targeted shooting Saturday morning

Half of the most expensive homes are on 2080 Mackenzie Crt, which is across the street from Revelstoke Mountain Resort. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)
The 10 most valuable homes in Revelstoke for 2020

Combined, the properties are worth more than $35M

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
More than 20 days have passed since the last case of COVID-19 was confirmed at Lakeside Manor. (File photo)
Salmon Arm retirement facility reopens social areas after COVID-19

More than 20 days have passed since last confirmed case at Lakeside Manor

A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Standardized foundation skills assessment tests in B.C. schools will be going ahead later than usual, from Feb. 16 to March 12 for students in Grades 4 and 7. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. teachers say COVID-affected school year perfect time to end standardized tests

Foundational skills testing of Grade 4 and 7 students planned for February ad March

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Sooke’s Jim Bottomley is among a handful of futurists based in Canada. “I want to help people understand the future of humanity.” (Aaron Guillen - Sooke News Mirror)
No crystal ball: B.C. man reveals how he makes his living predicting the future

63-year-old has worked analytical magic for politicians, car brands, and cosmetic companies

Most Read