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Holiday and winter fire safety


For many of us, the holidays involve friends, family, gifts, festivities and 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.


Kitchen and cooking safety

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. Learn more important safety tips.

Fire safety for guests in your home

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.

Decorating your home or work office

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

Christmas trees

  • Get a tree that is fresh and green. The needles should bend instead of break and the tree stump should be sticky with resin.
  • Christmas trees can be extremely flammable if very dry. Once ignited, the speed and intensity of burning is extreme. A dry tree will be totally consumed (except for the trunk) in a matter of seconds​.
  • Use a tree stand with a broad base for good balance and that has lots of space for water. The stump of the tree should always be in water.
  • If you are using an artificial tree, make sure it is 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.

Holiday lights

  • 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 strings of lights that have frayed, broken or exposed wires.
  • Never connect 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.


  • Use LED candles instead of open flame candles.
  • 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.

Decorating your office

  • Crepe paper and other combustible trimming or ornaments, including natural and artificial Christmas trees, must be flame resistant. These decorations must be inherently resistant to flame or treated with an approved flame-retardant material.
  • Natural Christmas trees are considered to be inherently flame-resistant if they are freshly cut and the base is kept in fresh water. A freshly cut tree is one that has been harvested within 14 days. The tree must be removed from the building within the 14 day period.

If there is an emergency and you need help

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 clothes if visitors are staying for extended periods of time.​​​​​​​​​

Holiday tips from the Calgary Fire Department

The Calgary Fire Department Elves want you to have a safe holiday season! Watch what they have to say.

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