It is that time of year once again, and while we are wasting no time ensuring that our homes are filled with Christmas joy, it can be easy for us to forget about the potential dangers that this festive holiday can bring to our homes. The holidays should be a magical time for everyone, yet every year over 8,000 adults and children find themselves in hospital emergency rooms being treated for injuries related to holiday lights, fires and Christmas trees. So, keep safe this Christmas with these simple tips.

Fire Safety Tips

Fire hazards are plentiful during the holiday season; from preparing your holiday dinner to lighting your fireplaces and decorating your Christmas trees. Here are some safety tips that you can follow to prevent or reduce the risk of fire hazards this holiday season:

  • Candles
    • Place all candles in non-tip candle holders
    • Keep all lit candles away from curtains, the Christmas tree, and out of the reach of children and pets
    • Never leave lit candles unattended and be sure to out their flames before going to bed
  • Fireplaces
    • If you have a wood burning fireplace, always use a secure screen in front of your fireplace to contain sparks and embers
    • Never leave lit fireplaces unattended
  • Other Fire Hazard Safety Tips
    • Never leave cooking food unattended
    • Do not overload electrical circuits
    • Keep a working fire extinguisher within close reach
    • Install smoke detectors, as well as carbon monoxide detectors throughout your home
    • Test both these detectors monthly, replacing their batteries at least twice per year

Safety Tips When Installing Decorative Lights

Lights and Extension Cords

  • Only use lights and extension cords that are in good condition
  • If reusing old lights and extension cords, check for signs of wear and tear, such as broken or cracked plugs and gaps in the insulation; replace them if you see any signs of damage
  • If cords feel warm to the touch after being in use for a while, unplug them as this may indicate that the cord might be defective
  • Always read and follow the manufacturer's guidelines before installing new lights or using a new extension cord
  • Position extension cords in such a way so that they do not create tripping or falling hazards
  • Only use indoor lights indoors, and outdoor lights outdoors
  • Do not use nails or staples to hang cords or lights, as this can damage the insulation protecting the wires inside them
  • Under no circumstances should the ground pin be removed. This interferes with electrical grounding, which can increase your risk of electrical shock
  • Do not overload electrical circuits
  • Turn off all lights before going to bed or leaving the house to prevent them from shorting out and starting a fire


If using a stepladder, ensure that:

  1. The spreaders and shelf are fully opened
  2. It is stable will all feet on a firm, level and non-slippery surface

If using a portable ladder:

  1. Maintain three-point contact
  2. Do not sit or stand on the pail shelf
  3. Do not over reach or shift ladder while on it

Christmas Tree Safety Tips

Selecting and Setting Up your Tree

  • If purchasing an artificial tree, check for a fire resistant label. If purchasing a live tree, make sure that is as fresh as possible; trees tend to dry very quickly and become a fire hazard
  • To check the freshness of a tree, give it a shake; the drier the tree, the more needles will fall. If you are using a chainsaw to cut down your own tree, be sure to follow all safety procedures (for more on chainsaw safety, check out Chainsaw Safety 101)
  • Cut at least 3 centimetres off the tree trunk to encourage the tree to absorb more water; this prevents the tree from drying too quickly. Place your tree in a sturdy stand with at least 3 litres of water
  • Be sure to check the water level everyday. Water your tree everyday or as you see fit
  • Add a small amount of sugar to the water as a substitute for preservatives
  • Set up your Christmas tree away from fireplaces, heating vents and doorways

Decorating your Tree

  • Decorate your Christmas tree with flame resistant or non-flammable decorations
  • Do not decorate your Christmas tree with metallic ornaments as they can become shock hazards if they come into contact with defective wiring
  • Avoid using spray-on snow flakes with angel hair (glass wool) on your Christmas tree; this is a highly combustible combination

Be Safe and Sound this Holiday Season

The holiday season is a special time of year. It is a time for relaxing and celebrating with friends and family. However, it is common knowledge that most accidents occur during the holiday season than any other time of the year. So, keep the Grinch who stole safety away and ensure you make it to the New Year safe and sound by following this guide on how to avoid some of the biggest holiday safety hazards.