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Canada Safety Council’s Wish List for a Safe and Happy Holiday Season

Dec 1, 2008 | Home & Community Safety, News, Older

From buying gifts, to attending parties, to seeing friends and family over the busy holiday season, sometimes safety may take a backseat to everything else that needs to be done. Here are a few simple safety tips and reminders to ensure you and your family’s safety during this celebratory season!

The Christmas Tree

  • When purchasing a live tree, check for freshness by tapping it on the ground – dropping needles, indicate a dry, highly flammable tree. Needles should be hard to pull from branches and when bent between your fingers, they do not break.
  • When purchasing an artificial tree, make sure it’s ‘fire resistant.’ Although this label does not mean the tree won’t catch fire, the tree will resist burning and should extinguish quickly.
  • If you are using tinsel, try to keep it more towards the top, and out of reach of pets and small children. If ingested, it could be dangerous.
  • Place your tree away from fireplaces and radiators. Also, heated rooms dry out fresh trees, so be sure to keep the stand filled with water.


  • Use Canadian Standards Association (CSA) approved lights. Place indoor and outdoor lights in their respective environments.
  • New or old, check light strings for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections, and throw out damaged sets. Make sure you do this before putting lights up. It is much easier to replace bulbs on the ground, than on the roof.
  • Turn off all lights when you go to bed or leave the house. The lights could short out and start a fire.
  • Don’t overload electrical sockets, and never string more than three sets of lights per single extension cord.

The Fireplace

  • Ensure the chimney flue is open and clean before you light a fire.
    Remove all decorations that could be burned around the fireplace.
  • Do not burn wrapping papers in the fireplace. A flash fire may result, as wrappings ignite suddenly and burn intensely.

Holiday Entertaining

  • Regardless of whether you are a guest or you have guests, make sure everyone has a safe ride home. Don’t drink and drive. Call a cab, call Operation Red Nose or Responsible Choice ( Ottawa ), or have a predetermined designated driver, to ensure a safe trip home.
  • If you are hosting, either don’t drink or limit your own consumption of alcohol so you can be aware of how much your guests are drinking.
  • See guests in and out. Greet all guests on arrival and departure, taking the opportunity to assess their condition.
  • When preparing for the big dinner, defrost the turkey in the refrigerator – not at room temperature.
  • Don’t leave perishable foods at room temperature for longer than two hours. Take only a small portion out at a time, and replenish frequently.


  • Keep candles, Yule Logs and Menorahs away from drapes, trees or any other potentially flammable objects. Make sure they are placed on a steady surface.
  • Never leave a burning candle unattended, and always keep out of reach of children.


  • Do not leave parcels and packages in plain view in your vehicle – lock all valuables in the trunk!
  • Don’t leave boxes in plain view for potential thieves. Packaging from major ticket items should be discarded carefully – cardboard boxes should be bundled to conceal the nature of the contents when put out to be recycled.

For more information, please contact:

Valerie Powell
Communications and Media Program Coordinator
Canada Safety Council
(613) 739-1535 (ext. 228)

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