While the incidence of fire increases during the holiday season, due to greater use of natural Christmas trees, decorations, and electric lighting, Canadians are taking further risks, as more than 29 per cent of homeowners admit they don't have a fire extinguisher in their home, according to an RBC Insurance survey.
"Between shopping for gifts and attending holiday parties, the last thing you want to worry about is your house being damaged by a fire," said Tim Bzowey of RBC Insurance. "Luckily there are some precautionary measures you can take to help keep your family safe this holiday season."
Keep your tree securely tethered and away from any and all heat sources. This includes electrical outlets, space heaters, radiators and fireplaces.
Do not leave Christmas lights on all night. Unplug the tree lights and any other lighting before leaving your home or going to bed. The lights could short out and start a fire.
Choose decorations that are flame-retardant, non-combustible and non-conductive. For example, do not use metallic ornaments on the tree, as they could make contact with defective wiring and become a shock hazard.
Closely monitor flame burning candles. Avoid using candles on windowsills; particularly those that have curtains, as even the smallest drafts are capable of spreading a flame.
Make sure fireplaces and chimneys are properly cleaned and maintained. Have a professional inspect your fireplace annually for any cracks and always use a screen in front of your fireplace while it is burning.