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2006 News Releases

Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service reminds citizens to continue to be fire safe during the holiday season

NEWS @ A GLANCE:

The Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service is reminding citizens to be vigilant about fire safety for the remainder of the holiday season. Fire safety is of paramount importance at this time of year, especially with the safe display of natural and artificial Christmas trees, candles, lights and seasonal decorations.
(for more details, please read the full media release below)

MEDIA RELEASE:

WINNIPEG December 27, 2006 - The Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service is reminding citizens to be vigilant about fire safety for the remainder of the holiday season. Fire safety is of paramount importance at this time of year, especially with the safe display of natural and artificial Christmas trees, candles, lights and seasonal decorations.

The following are recommendations for a fire safe holiday:

Christmas trees:

  • Natural trees which have been up for a while tend to dry out and become more inflammable.
  • Check the water level at least daily, and kept the tree stand filled with water at all times.
  • Keep trees away from heat sources such as hot air registers, portable heaters, fireplaces, candles and spot lights etc, as the heat will dry out the tree, causing it to be more easily ignited by heat, flame or sparks.

Holiday lights and decorations:

  • Always use CSA approved Christmas tree lights and check the bulbs, sockets, wires and plugs to make sure nothing is cracked, broken or exposed. Replace any missing bulbs, being careful to never bypass a fuse.
  • Do not overload electrical outlets; do not link more than three light strands, unless the directions indicate it is safe. Connect strings of lights to an extension cord before plugging the cord into the outlet. Periodically check the wires — they should not be warm to the touch.
  • Do not use lights on metallic trees.
  • If your tree shows signs of dryness such as excessive needle loss, the tree has been cut too long, has probably dried out, and is a fire hazard.
  • Turn off all interior and exterior Christmas lights before going to bed, and when leaving the home.
  • Use only non-flammable decorations; all decorations should be non-flammable or flame-retardant and placed away from heat vents and fireplaces.
  • Never put wrapping paper in a fireplace; it can create toxic fumes, throw off dangerous sparks and produce a chemical buildup in the home that could cause an explosion.

Candles:
Do not leave candles burning in unoccupied rooms and do not leave unattended children or pets in rooms with lit candles. Place candles and matches or lighters out of the reach of children, and when candles are in use, place them in approved non-combustible holders. Do not place candles near or in Christmas trees, curtains, decorations, or other combustible material such as bedding or cushions.

Carbon Monoxide:
For general festive season and winter safety, be aware of carbon monoxide (CO) dangers. This gas is created when fuel-burning appliances are either not functioning correctly or are not venting properly into outside air. It can also leak into homes from garages or other adjacent enclosed spaces where automobiles have been left with their engines running. Have your furnace and any fuel-burning appliance checked by a qualified technician to ensure proper and safe ventilation and chimney function. This is a good time of year to check the batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms.

Finally, as in every season, have working smoke alarms and test them regularly; know when and how to call for help; and remember to practice your home escape plan.

Last update: 27.12.2006

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