Fire-related deaths in Alberta double during the holiday season, prompting a reminder from the provincial government. At the top of this list of tips for staying fire safe is watering natural Christmas trees daily, and keeping them away from fireplaces, heaters and candles. Candles should also be kept in a glass holder and be blown out before leaving a room or going to bed.
“The holiday season is a wonderful time of year, but it is also a busy time and fire safety is often not on the top of our to-do list,” says Shaye Anderson, Minister of Municipal Affairs. “It’s easy to forget to blow out candles or turn off your decorations when you’re rushing around.”
Albertans should make sure to check all of their lights for loose bulbs or worn cords, and pay attention to whether they are intended for indoor or outdoor use. All decorations should be turned off overnight, and electrical outlets should be overloaded.
“Fire departments are ready to respond 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” adds Strathcona County Emergency Services Fire Chief Dan Lemieux. “However, taking steps to prevent fires from occurring is the safest choice you can make. We want families to celebrate safely and that starts with knowing where the potential hazards are and taking simple steps to prevent a fire from starting.”
There were more than 4,300 fires in Alberta last year, which resulted in 29 deaths and 166 injuries. 68 per cent of all house fires over the past decade were blamed on cooking fires, smoking, and electrical wiring.
The province reminds people to have and practice and escape plan with two ways out, to make sure they have a working smoke detector, and to not leave cooking unattended.