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Holiday Fire Safety

Winter Holiday Safety

The risk of fire-related deaths in Alberta homes doubles during the winter holiday season. The increases are associated with the use of home heating equipment, cooking, electricity and candles.

Christmas Trees

  • Always choose a freshly cut tree with a high moisture content. If needles begin to fall, the tree is typically starting to dry out. Ensure the tree is immersed in 2 to 3 liters of water, and is topped up regularly. Ensure that the tree is being supported by a sturdy stand to prevent tipping. Never set up a tree to block an exit, or close to any heat sources.
  • When purchasing an artificial tree, ensure that it is “fire resistant” and avoid use of metallic trees.
  • Always use flame-retardant, non-combustible, and non-conductive decorations. Avoid use of metallic ornaments.
  • Do not hand stockings or flammable materials from the fireplace mantel.


  • Always use Canadian Standards Association (CSA) certified lights.
  • Use decorative lighting specifically designed for indoor/outdoor use.
  • Replace any bulbs that may be loose, broken or missing.
  • Always turn off decorative lights before going to bed or leaving the home. 

Electrical Outlets

  • Do not overload electrical outlets or power bars.
  • Inspect all cords before use and only use CSA certified cords and power bars.
  • Do not coil, bunch or run extension cords under carpets.


  • Never leave candles unattended.
  • Ensure candles are in a sturdy holder and always blow out prior to sleeping or leaving the home.


  • Never leave cooking unattended.
  • Do not overheat cooking oil.
  • If a pan fire starts, put a lid on it! Never put water on a grease fire.

Smoking and Responsible Drinking

  • Encourage smokers to smoke outside and to dispose of cigarette butts in the designated ashtrays.
  • Keep an eye on anyone attempting to cook or smoke while under the influence of alcohol.


  • Choose a hotel/motel that is protected by both a smoke alarm and fire sprinkler system.
  • Review the fire escape plan posted within your room.
  • Take time to find the exits and count the number of doors between your room and the exit. Make sure the exits are unlocked. If they are locked, report it to management immediately.
  • Keep your room key by your bed and easily accessible.
  • If the alarm sounds, leave right away, closing all doors behind you. Use the stairs — never use elevators during a fire.
  • If you must escape through smoke, get low and go under the smoke to your exit.

If you cannot escape...

  • Shut off all fans and air conditioners.
  • Stuff wet towels in the cracks around the doors.
  • Call the fire department and let them know your location.
  • Wait at the window and signal with a flashlight or light coloured cloth.


  • Purchase costumes and props that are flame-resistant or flame-retardant.
  • Keep decorative materials, such as cornstalks or dried flowers away from open flames or heat sources.
  • Use caution while igniting candles within pumpkins. Use a long lighter or match to light candles to avoid burns. Place pumpkins away from any combustible items.
  • Tip: Use a small flashlight to illuminate the pumpkin, instead of a candle.
  • If attending Halloween parties, make note of where all exits are located and plan how to escape in case of an emergency.

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