It may be a little counter-intuitive, but as we relax from the regular routine into the holiday season, many of us tacitly allow a level of risk into the home we would not otherwise tolerate. Case in point – Christmas traditions.
CANDLES – Pulling out the candles seems pretty normal this time of year, but in an age when portable light is ubiquitous (e.g. rechargeable lights, like those handed out during this year’s calendar drive, smart phones with flashlight apps, that little clip on your key-chain, etc.) candles are an unnecessary and potentially dangerous anachronism. While there’s no doubt it adds to the atmosphere, an open flame in your house also adds to the danger. If you must use candles, please remember the following:
* always keep a burning candle in sight
* never go to sleep with candles burning
* never burn candles near flammable materials
* always keep candles out of the reach of children and pets
* never use a candle as a night light
FIREPLACES – Your firefighters continue to be called out to extinguish chimney fires throughout Lantzville. We’re not complaining – that’s what we’re here for! But even a small chimney fire can mean an expensive repair bill for homeowners. Over the holidays fireplaces often get used more than normal. So don’t take any chances: clean your fireplace regularly – and if you’re not able to do so, call in the professionals.
CHRISTMAS WRAP – What to do with that huge pile of paper once the presents have been opened? Well, whatever you do, DO NOT try to burn it. Wrapping paper, especially in large amounts, can burn terrifically hot and fall or float out of your woodstove or fireplace before you get the door closed. It can also lead to momentarily high flue temperatures and a possible chimney fire.
CHRISTMAS TREES – If you’re putting a real tree in your house, please:
* before mounting on the stand, remove the 2-4 cm from the bottom
* keep trees at least 1 metre from any heat source
* make sure trees do not block an exit
* add water daily and remove a tree if it dries out
* don’t place old trees along the side of your house
DRINKING AND DRIVING – British Columbia still has the toughest laws in Canada when it comes to drinking and driving. If you’ve been drinking, use a designated driver or call Operation Red Nose, 250-755-6969, for a safe ride home.
Remember, the holidays are no time to let your guard down! The only tradition that really matters is staying safe. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from your firefighters at Lantzville Fire Rescue.