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Holiday & winter safety

For many of us, the holidays involve friends, family, gifts, festivities and a ton of food. However, these celebrations can pose some safety risks at home. Being prepared in case there is an emergency will help to keep you, your family, and any visitors safe over the holiday season.

Call 9-1-1 immediately, if there is an emergency and you need help.

Kitchens & Cooking

Cooking fires are the leading causes of house fires. It’s tempting to leave the kitchen to visit with company but you should always stay in the kitchen while food is cooking. Also, always keep children and pets away from hot stoves. Learn more.

Fire safety for visitors

If you have family, friends or other guests staying with you over the holidays, share your home escape plan with them so they know how to escape if there is a fire. Having visitors is also a great opportunity to test your fire safety equipment, like smoke alarms and CO detectors. If you have a fire extinguisher, show your guests where it is and instruct them on how to use it.

Remove snow and ice

You must remove snow and ice from your sidewalk, driveway, and paths up to and around your home regularly. Keeping these areas clear of snow and ice will protect your guests and first responders from potential injuries. Failure to clear snow and ice can result in a cost to the property owner. Learn what the rules for snow and ice removal are to prevent having to pay.

Shoveling snow can be a tough task. We have some tips on how to safely clear your sidewalk.

Call 311 if you need to report a home or property that isn't removing their snow or ice.

Decorating your home

Many families decorate their homes for the holidays. Decorations can look beautiful but they can also cause fires.

  • Choose decorations that are flame resistant or flame retardant
  • Don’t place decorations around sources of heat like candles or fire places

Holiday lights

Lighting, both indoors and outdoors, help us celebrate the holiday season by making our homes and communities beautiful. However, they can also be the cause of a fire in your home.

  • Ensure you use outdoor lights outdoors, and indoor lights indoors.
  • Ensure your lights have a sticker to show they meet CSA standards or are CSA approved.
  • Inspect your lights before putting them up; replace cracked bulbs and string of lights that have frayed, broken or exposed wires.
  • Never string more than the recommended number of lights together.
  • Know your limits when installing lights and make sure you have the right tools, such as the appropriate ladder, for hard to reach areas.
  • Always turn off all indoor and outdoor lights before going to bed or leaving your home.

Candles

Just like indoor and outdoor holiday lights, we use candles during the holidays to make our homes beautiful and celebrate the season. To help prevent a fire started by a candle;

  • Keep candles away from curtains, paper, furniture or anything that can easily catch fire.
  • Adults should always supervise children when candles are lit. Children should never be left alone to light a candle or use matches.
  • Keep candles in sturdy, stable holders and sit them on stable surfaces away from drafts, children or pets.
  • Use LED candles instead of flame candles.

Christmas trees

Many Calgarians put up Christmas trees to celebrate the holidays. To prevent tree fires in your home, remember to:

  • Get a tree that is fresh and green. The needles should bend instead of break and the tree stump should be sticky with resin.
  • Use a tree stand with a broad base for good balance and that has lots of space for water. The base of the tree should always be in water.
  • If you are using an artificial tree, make sure it’s made of flame resistant or flame retardant material.
  • Do not set up the tree within 3 feet of a heat source such as a radiator, television, fireplace or heating duct.
  • Make sure it isn’t blocking any doors.
  • Never use lit candles on your tree.
  • After the holidays, properly dispose of trees as soon as possible using our Christmas tree recycling program.

Driving in the winter

Winter driving brings a variety of hazards from ice to blowing snow. You should take every precaution and prepare your vehicle for the winter driving months. This can include winter tires, cleaning the snow and ice from your vehicle, and leaving extra distance between vehicles to stop. Learn more.

Be ready for a winter disaster

In Calgary, large amounts of snow can fall quickly and on occasion knock out power or leave roads impassable. Having a 72 hour emergency kit stocked and ready for use will help you feel safe and secure over the holidays. Make sure to have extra supplies like food, water, and warm cloths if visitors are staying for long periods of time.