Column: Oak Bay fire offers holiday safety tips

Capt. Rob Kivell is the Oak Bay Fire Department’s fire prevention officer.

Home fire safety tips for the holidays

Here are some seasonal home fire safety tips:

1. Smoke/Carbon Monoxide Detectors

• Make sure you have them and that they’re working.

2. Light up the night without igniting the lights

• Purchase extension cords for the specific job – don’t improvise with an indoor cord outdoors, or daisy chain several shorter cords instead of just getting a longer one.

• As with extension cords, indoor-rated light strings and pre-lit trees are for indoor use only. Products marked for indoor use are not designed to hold up against the elements. However it is safe though to use outdoor extension cords and light strings indoors.

• It is not a good idea to connect different types of light strings together. For example, don’t plug in a new LED string to your old incandescent light string.

• Do not run extension cords under carpets, out windows or doorways where they could become pinched.

• Inspect light strings/set and extension cords before use, and discard any that show signs of wear or damage.

• Insert plugs fully into outlets. Poor contact may cause overheating or shock.

• If using candles, burn them in proper holders, on sturdy surfaces away from children and pets. Put out candles before leaving the room or going to sleep.

• Do not overload electrical outlets.

3. Staying warm

• If you must use a space heater, plug it directly into a wall outlet, not into an extension cord or power bar. Give it lots of room – at least 1 m (3 feet) of space on all sides, and turn it off before leaving the room or going to sleep.

• Consider replacing old space heaters with newer models that turn off automatically when tipped or overheating.

• Use a barrier to keep children and pets away from gas or wood burning fireplaces when they are in use.

• Never burn gift wrappings, boxes, cartons, or other types of packing in the fireplace.

4. Cooking safe

• Don’t leave grilling, frying or broiling unattended.

• Keep cooking surfaces clutter-free

• Order in if intoxicated.

5. The Tree

• Real or fake, the good news is Christmas trees rarely catch fire. Nevertheless, if using a real one, make sure to keep it well-watered and away from sources of heat. Never use candles on or near the tree.

Capt. Rob Kivell is the Oak Bay Fire Department’s fire prevention officer.

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