The holiday season can be one of the happiest times of the year; but, Mississauga Fire and Emergency Services (MFES) is reminding residents the elements that make for a great festive occasion with family and friends can lead to disaster for the distracted host or party guest.
“Being distracted in the kitchen is the number one cause of fires and the second leading cause of fatal fires in Ontario,” said Fire Chief Tim Beckett, MFES. “These types of fires are preventable. It’s everyone’s responsibility to pay attention when cooking, lighting candles or smoking indoors to prevent fires from starting and ensure that everyone has the opportunity for a safe and happy holiday.”
According to Chief Beckett, there are several tips that can help keep families safe during the holidays season which include:
Safety Tips While Cooking and Entertaining
- Don’t leave the kitchen if there’s something cooking on the stove. If a pot catches fire, don’t try to move it. Cover the pot with a lid to smother the flames and turn off the burner.
- Keep things that can burn such as cooking utensils and paper towels away from the stove as they can easily ignite if they are too close.
- Drink responsibly. Excessive alcohol consumption is a contributing factor in many residential fires.
- Encourage smokers to smoke outside. Cigarettes can smolder among upholstery cushions for hours before igniting. Check sofas and chairs for cigarettes that may have fallen between the cushions.
- Keep Your Tree Fire Free
- Keep all candles away from the Christmas tree. Make sure the base of the tree is immersed in water at all times.
- Check all sets of lights before putting them on the tree. Discard any sets that are damaged or old.
Fire Safety at Home
- Develop and practice a home escape plan with everyone in the home.
- Install smoke alarms on every storey of your home and outside sleeping areas. It’s the law.
- Determine who will be responsible for helping young children, older adults or anyone else that may need assistance in case of fire.
- Never re-enter a burning home.
- Carbon monoxide is a deadly invisible, odourless gas. It’s the law in Ontario to install carbon monoxide alarms in all homes with a fuel-burning appliance or an attached garage.
For residents interested in additional fire safety tips and guidance, MFES offers their Home Safe Home program free of charge. To request a Home Safe Home visit, residents are encouraged to call Fire Headquarters at 905-615-3777.