Fire safety tips for the holidays

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December 23, 2014 9:04 AM

The Lloydminster Fire Department wants everyone to have a safe holiday season this year. As it’s the time for hot fireplaces, day-long cooking endeavours and possible celebratory drinks, fire Chief Todd Gustavson would like to remind people of some useful tips to avoid any accidental flare ups.

“Some of the things we want to keep an eye on, of course. Cooking is one,” said Gustavson.

“People get together and have a few social drinks and maybe they don’t pay too much attention to how they discard their smoking materials ... (That’s) another one you should look out for.”

So mind the stove if you’re doing any cooking or baking and make sure any smoking materials are fully extinguished before throwing them away.

Another thing to look out for is your Christmas tree. If it’s not artificial, it’s recommended you keep your tree moist and well away from any flammable sources. Keeping the tree closer to outlets is also a good idea, so you don’t have to run cords long distances across the floor. And, of course, always unplug the lights before bed or when you leave the house.

“And if you’re using extension cords, make sure they’re well-maintained,” he said.

Outlets should never be overloaded and if you need batteries for Christmas gifts, take the time to go out and get new ones if you are tempted to steal them from your smoke alarms. That being said, make sure the ones that are in your smoke alarms are also in good working order.

Christmas wrapping can be another problem when people want to dispose of it in the fireplace. Gustavson warns against this because it can start a chimney fire, so throw all wrapping in the garbage or recycle if possible.

Making sure the slats for the screens and glass are properly in place is also important when lighting your fireplace.

“Last, but not least, the candles. If you don’t have to be using them, don’t be,” said Gustavson. “But at the end of the day, if you’re adamant about it, at least make sure that they’re supervised and not left burning with nobody around.”

Gustavson said the last few years have been pretty good in terms of fire emergencies, or lack there of, and would like to think that’s from people taking good fire prevention measures in their home.

“I hope that everyone has a happy and safe Christmas,” said Gustavson

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