Fire Chiefs of Ontario Offer Safety Tips

Getting your family out safely means having a plan of action. Most people don't do that.
Getting your family out safely means having a plan of action. Most people don't do that.
Thunder Bay Fire Rescue
Thunder Bay Fire Rescue

Make your holiday season safer – Fire Chiefs

THUNDER BAY – Keeping your family safe is important. During the holiday season, keeping things safe is especially important because often there is just so much going on. Unattended candles, excited children and pets, and all the joy of the season are fantastic. That is why it is so important to think out a clear and solid fire plan.

The Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs offer some safety guidelines not only for the holidays, but for year round safety.

Getting your family out safely means having a plan of action. Most people don't do that.
Getting your family out safely means having a plan of action. Most people don’t do that.

Can your family get out safely?

Draw a floor plan of your home, marking two ways out of every room – especially sleeping areas. Discuss the escape routes with every member of your household. Agree on a meeting place outside your home where every member of the household will gather to wait for the fire department. This allows you to count heads and inform the fire department if anyone is trapped inside the burning building. Practice your escape plan at least twice a year. Have a fire drill in your home. Appoint someone to be a monitor and have everyone participate. A fire drill is not a race. Get out quickly, but carefully. Make your exit drill realistic. Pretend that some exits are blocked by fire and practice alternative escape routes. Pretend that the lights are out and that some escape routes are filling with smoke. – See more at:

Holiday Safety Tips

Day 1

Water fresh trees daily

It’s time to trim that Christmas tree, and if you’re using a real tree, buy a fresh tree and keep the base of the trunk in water at all times. Keep your tree away from any ignition source such as the fireplace, heaters or candles. More Christmas tree and decoration tips below.


Day 2

Check all sets of lights before decorating

Before you put those lights on the tree or around the front window check the cords closely. Discard any sets that are frayed or damaged.


Day 3

Make sure you have working smoke alarms

With family and friends spending extra time at your home over the holidays, it’s a great time to check your smoke alarms. Replace smoke alarms if they are over 10 years old. Remember that you need working smoke alarms on every storey of your home and outside all sleeping areas. Test your alarms to make sure they will alert you and your family if a fire occurs, giving you the precious seconds you need to safely escape. More Information on Smoke Alarms


Day 4

Make sure you have working carbon monoxide alarms

Carbon monoxide is an invisible, odourless gas that can quickly kill you. Replace any carbon monoxide alarms over seven years old. Installing carbon monoxide alarms in your home will alert you to the presence of this deadly gas. More Information on CO Alarms.


Day 5
Getting your family out safely means having a plan of action. Most people don't do that.
Getting your family out safely means having a plan of action. Most people don’t do that.

Make sure everyone knows how to get out safely if a fire occurs

Develop and practise a home fire escape plan with all members of the household and make sure someone helps young children, older adults or anyone else that may need assistance to evacuate. Once outside, stay outside and call 911 from a cell phone or neighbours house. 


Day 6

Use extension cords wisely

People often use extension cords for that extra set of lights or the dancing Santa in the corner. Extension cords should be used only as a temporary connection. Make sure cords never go under rugs as this can cause damage to the cord and cause a fire. More electrical safety tips below.


Day 7

Give space heaters space

If you are using space heaters to help take the chill off, remember to keep them at least one metre (3 feet) away from anything that can burn such as curtains, upholstery, or holiday decorations.  More heating and fireplace  safety tips below.


Day 8

When you go out, blow out!

Candles can set the perfect mood for a holiday celebration, but remember to always blow out candles before leaving the room or going to bed. Keep lit candles safely away from children and pets and anything that can burn, such as curtains, upholstery, or holiday decorations.  Be candle safe!  More candle safety below.


Day 9

Keep matches and lighters out of the sight and reach of children

People often keep matches and lighters handy to light holiday candles. But matches and lighters can be deadly in the hands of children. If you smoke, have only one lighter or book of matches and keep them with you at all times.


Day 10

Watch what you heat!

The holiday season is one of the busiest times of the year, which means it’s easy to get distracted from what we are doing. Cooking fires most commonly occur when cooking is left unattended. Always stay in the kitchen when cooking; especially if using oil or high temperatures. If a pot catches fire, carefully slide a tight-fitting lid over the pot to smother the flames and then turn off the heat.  Cooking safety tips.


Day 11

Encourage smokers to smoke outside

Careless smoking is the leading cause of fatal fires. If you do allow smoking indoors use large, deep ashtrays that can’t be knocked over and make sure cigarette butts are properly extinguished.  More holiday entertaining tips below.


Day 12

There’s more to responsible drinking than taking a cab home

With all the festive cheer this time of year, keep a close eye on anyone attempting to cook or smoke while under the influence of alcohol. Alcohol is all too often a common factor in many fatal fires. More holiday entertaining tips below.


For more information on the Ontario Fire Marshals’ Initiative on the “12 Days of Holiday Fire Safety” visit their website

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