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tree with lights

When the weather turns colder, and the holiday season is upon us, Fire Prevention has some safety tips for you to keep in mind during the winter.

Holiday Safety

However you celebrate the holiday season, Edmonton Fire Rescue wants you to be safe in your home when you use the following holiday decorations.


Christmas Candle.

December is the peak time of year for home candle fires. In December, more home candle fires begin with decorations compared to the rest of the year.

  • Never use lit candles to decorate the tree.
  • Never leave a burning candle unattended. Blow out candles when you leave a room or go to sleep.
  • Use sturdy, safe candle holders. Protect candle flames with glass globes or containers.
  • Keep candles at least 3 feet away from things that can burn, such as Christmas trees, decorations and curtains.
  • Keep children and pets away from burning candles.
  • Candles placed on tables, altars or shrines must be maintained under the supervision of an adult.
  • Consider using battery-operated candles, which can look, smell and feel like real candles.
Christmas Trees

Although Christmas tree fires are not common, when they do occur, they are more likely to be serious.

Be fire smart this season by following these precautions.

For Natural Trees:

  • Cut your own tree, or buy a fresh green one that's not shedding its needles.
  • Place the tree in a sturdy non-tip stand as least 3 feet away from heat sources such as fireplaces, candles, lights or radiators.
  • Make sure the tree does not block an exit.
  • Check the water level for the tree each day.
  • Dispose of the tree within 4 weeks, or sooner if it dries out. Store it away from the house or garage.

For Artificial Trees:

  • Be sure the tree is flame retardant.
  • Inspect the lights on pre-lit trees for damage prior to use.
  • Place the tree at least 3 feet away from heat sources such as fireplaces, candles, lights or radiators.
  • Make sure the tree does not block an exit.
Decorative Lights
  • Only use lights that have the label of a recognized testing laboratory.
  • Make sure outdoor decorative lights, extension cords and outlets are weatherproof or identified for outdoor use.
  • Don't overload electrical outlets or run extension cords under carpets, across doorways or near heat sources.
  • Unplug all decorative lights before leaving your home or going to bed.
  • Take down outdoor decorative lights after 90 days, to prevent damage from weather and animals.

Winter Fire Safety

During the colder months, you can prevent fires by keeping some important safety tips in mind.


Fire in a Fireplace

  • Keep a glass or metal screen in front of the fireplace opening to prevent embers or sparks from jumping out, unwanted material from going in, and help prevent the possibility of burns to occupants.
  • Keep flammable materials away from your mantel. A spark from the fireplace could easily ignite these materials.
  • Have the chimney inspected annually and cleaned if necessary, especially if it has not been used for some time.
  • Before you go to sleep, be sure your fireplace fire is out. Never close your damper with hot ashes in the fireplace. A closed damper will help the fire to heat up again, and will force toxic carbon monoxide into the home.
Furnace Heating

An example of a furnace in a home

  • Be sure all furnace controls and emergency shutoffs are in proper working condition.
  • Leave furnace repairs to qualified specialists. Do not attempt repairs yourself unless you are qualified.
  • Inspect the walls and ceiling near the furnace and along the chimney line. If the wall is hot or discolored, additional pipe insulation or clearance may be required.
  • Check the flue pipes and pipe seams. Are they well supported? Free of holes and cracks? Soot along or around seams may indicate a leak.
  • Keep trash and other combustibles away from the heating system.
Other Safety Tips

Keep fire hydrants clear of snow

  • If there is a fire hydrant near your home, you can assist the fire department by keeping the hydrant clear of snow so it can be located in an emergency.
  • Frozen water pipes? Never try to thaw them with a blow torch or other open flame. The pipe could conduct the heat and ignite the wall structure inside the wall space. Use hot water or a UL- labeled device such as a hand-held dryer for thawing.
  • Avoid using electric space heaters in bathrooms or other areas where they may come in contact with water.
  • Be sure every level of your home has a working smoke detector, and be sure to check and clean it on a monthly basis.

For More Information

Fire Prevention Office




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