According to the National Fire Protection Association, one in three fire deaths occurs between November and January. (Michael Henderson/Wikimedia Commons)

Saanich firefighter offers holiday safety tips

One in three fire deaths in Canada occurs between November and January

Winter may be the time for holiday cheer, but it’s also when a large number of fatal fires occur.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, one in three fire deaths in Canada occurs between November and January. Lt. Insp. Sean Lillis of the Saanich Fire Department attributed this to people being more preoccupied during the holidays.

People let their guards down, he explained. They forget about pots on the stove, candles near decorations or cigarettes near furniture.

Lillis emphasized that kitchen fires are common, especially during the holidays. He recommended that chefs, both professional and amateur, turn off the stove or appoint someone else to keep an eye on things before leaving the room.

Trees can also be cause for concern over the holidays as 25 per cent of winter fires start with a Christmas tree and a heat source. Trees should always be kept at least three feet away from all heat sources because they can dry out quickly and then catch on fire, Lillis said.

READ ALSO: Getting jolly in Victoria: it’s officially one month until Christmas

Using candles as holiday decorations isn’t as common nowadays and many who still use them opt for the LED versions, Lillis noted. However, folks who prefer the real thing need to keep them in a sturdy holder, away from decorations and should always blow them out before leaving the room.

There has been a shift towards LED string lights over the years, but Lillis pointed out that the wires should still be checked for fraying or loose bulbs. The lights should also be hung with clips, not nails or anything that may pierce the cord. Lillis also emphasized that it’s never a good idea for people to try repairing their own burnt-out string lights. Like candles, the lights should also be unplugged when no one is in the room.

READ ALSO: Scouts sell Island-grown Christmas trees in View Royal

Christmas time in Greater Victoria is almost always rainy and this can cause problems for residents who want their homes to be bright enough to be seen from outer space. Outdoor outlets should be covered and indoor lights should never be used outside, Lillis advised. He also points out that overloaded power bars can cause fires even if they have a breaker, and that while it may reduce tripping hazards, running extension cords under carpets isn’t safe.

Lillis also noted that smoke alarms should be checked and all house guests should be briefed on the home escape plan.


@devonscarlett
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Police closed McNeill Avenue after a workplace death Oct. 20, 2020. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
UPDATED: Dangerous branches delay removal of body in Oak Bay workplace death

Traffic restricted on McNeill Avenue near Byng Road

The West Shore RCMP released these images of a suspect as part of its investigation into a report of sexual assault on Sept. 17. (West Shore RCMP handout)
The West Shore RCMP released these images of a suspect as part of its investigation into a report of sexual assault on Sept. 17. (West Shore RCMP handout)
Sexual assault suspect sought by West Shore RCMP

Police are looking for help identifying this man

A bear similar to this black bear was spotted on Elk Lake Drive on Oct. 20 and is believed responsible for killing a llama in Saanich the night before. (Black Press Media file photo)
Bear spotted several times in Saanich likely to be euthanized

Conservation officers still searching for bear reported near Elk Lake Drive

An artists rendering of the proposed Aragon Properties development in Sooke’s town centre shows a friendly, walkable neighbourhood. (Contributed graphic)
Large housing development eyed for Sooke core

Aragon Properties seeks to build 132 housing units

(Black Press Media file photo)
Be prepared: Know what to do in the event of a Greater Victoria tsunami warning

Localized alert systems can provide potentially life-saving information

FILE – People wait in line at a COVID-19 testing facility in Burnaby, B.C., on Thursday, August 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
167 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death recorded as B.C. enters 2nd wave

Three new healthcare outbreaks also announced

Advance polls are open from Oct. 15 to 21 with election day on Oct. 24. (Black Press Media file photo)
This 2020 electron microscope image made available by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases shows a Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 particle isolated from a patient, in a laboratory in Fort Detrick, Md. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-NIAID/NIH via AP
At least 49 cases of COVID-19 linked to wedding in Calgary: Alberta Health

McMillan says the city of Calgary has recently seen several outbreaks linked to social gatherings

UBC geoscientists discovered the wreckage of a decades-old crash during an expedition on a mountain near Harrison Lake. (Submitted photo)
Wreckage of possibly decades-old airplane crash discovered on mountain near Harrison Lake

A team of UBC geoscientists discovered the twisted metal embedded in a glacier

The official search to locate Jordan Naterer was suspended Saturday Oct. 17. Photo courtesy of VPD.
‘I am not leaving without my son,’ says mother of missing Manning Park hiker

Family and friends continue to search for Jordan Naterer, after official efforts suspended

Bernard Trest and his son Max, 10, are concerned about B.C.’s plan for students in the classroom. He was one of two fathers who filed a court application in August to prevent schools from reopening if stricter COVID-19 protections weren’t in place. That application was dismissed last week. (Contributed photo)
B.C. dad pledges to appeal quashed call for mandatory masks, distancing in schools

Bernard Trest and Gary Shuster challenged health, education ministries’ return-to-school plan

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
RCMP cleared in fatal shooting of armed Lytton man in distress, police watchdog finds

IIO spoke to seven civillian witnesses and 11 police officers in coming to its decision

A 34-year-old man was treated for a gunshot wound in Williams Lake Monday, Oct 19, 2020. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Williams Lake man treated for gunshot wound after accidental shooting: RCMP

Police are reminding residents to ensure firearms are not loaded when handling them

A injection kit is seen inside the newly opened Fraser Health supervised consumption site is pictured in Surrey, B.C., Tuesday, June 6, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. records 127 fatal overdoses in September, roughly 4 each day

Vancouver, Surrey and Victoria continued to see the highest numbers of overdoses

Most Read