The holiday season is again upon us and many
Canadians are busy brightening hearth and home with festive decorations. When
decking the halls at home, or at the office, it’s easy to get caught up in the
spirit of the season and forget that these decorative items may also pose a
risk of fire or injury. With the launch of its annual Holiday Safety Campaign,
CSA International, a leading North American product certification and testing
organization, is reminding everyone to practice safety inside and outside
their homes during this joyous time of year.
“As families gather to celebrate the festive season, we want to help them
to enjoy a safe and happy holiday,” said Grant Carter, Vice President, Marketing and Communications, CSA Group.
“Whether decorating the home or
sitting in front of a warm fire with friends and family, these tips remind
everyone to be proactive this holiday season when it comes to safety.”
According to the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs, faulty cords and
plugs on holiday lighting are the leading causes of indoor fires during the
“At this festive time of year we ask Canadians not to put fire safety on
the backburner,” said Michael Eddy, president, Canadian Association of Fire
Chiefs. “Using CSA International’s tips and advice on how to identify and
prevent fire hazards around the home, they can help ensure that this year’s
holiday season is a safe and happy occasion.”
Bernard Moyle, Fire Marshal of Ontario adds, “In 2004 more than 70 people
in Ontario died due to house fires. In an effort to reduce the risk during the
holiday season, the Ontario Fire Marshal’s Public Fire Safety Council supports
creative initiatives such as CSA’s Holiday Safety Campaign, designed to
increase awareness of fire safety and to make our communities safer.”
For 2005, CSA International has also brought back its fun and interactive
online Holiday Safety Quiz for all of the family to enjoy at
Decorating do’s and don’ts to help ensure a safe holiday season
CSA International would like to remind everyone to practice safety around
the home this holiday season by following these simple tips to help ensure
indoor and outdoor safety:
All through the house Photo Credit: www.comstock.ca
1. All is bright – Indoor lighting safety tips
– To protect, inspect: Carefully inspect holiday light strings
each year and discard any with frayed cords, cracked lamp
holders or loose connections.
– Lights unplugged: Unplug light strings before replacing bulbs
and check to ensure replacement bulbs match the voltage and
wattage of the original bulb.
– Size it up: Ensure that bulb reflectors are the right size
for the light string.
– Lights out: Always turn off holiday lights when you leave the
house unattended or when going to bed.
– Find the CSA International certification mark: When purchasing
light strings, extension cords and electrical decorations, look
for the CSA International certification mark, which provides
assurance that the products comply with applicable standards
for safety and performance.
– All wrapped up: After the holidays, store lights and decorations
in the original packaging, as they likely contain manufacturer’s
instructions on replacement bulbs and details for proper product
– Don’t get burned: Do not use open flames or candles on or near
flammable materials such as wreaths, natural trees or paper
– For the office:
– All is bright, but not all night: Ensure that decorative
lights are turned off after business hours
– Don’t be tacky: Never tack or staple lighting strings or
extension cords to the wall or cubicle
– No strings attached: Avoid hanging decorations from fire
sprinklers, blocking exit corridors, or obstructing exit
signs, fire extinguishers and hose cabinets with decorations
2. Walking in a winter wonderland – outdoor safety tips
– Power down: Before working with outdoor wiring, turn off the
electricity to the supply outlet and unplug the connection.
– Look for the CSA International certification mark: Ensure that
light strings, cords, spotlights and floodlights are certified
by CSA International and marked for outdoor use or wet locations.
– High and dry: When hanging lights outdoors, keep electrical
connectors above ground, out of puddles and snow, and away from
metal eaves troughs.
– Hang with care: Use insulated fasteners rather than metal nails
or tacks to hold light strings in place.
– Pack away for another holiday: Remove outdoor lights promptly
after the holiday season to avoid damage caused by extended
exposure to harsh weather conditions.
– Keep good time: Use an outdoor timer certified by CSA
International to switch lights on and off. Lights should be turned
on after 7 p.m. to avoid the electricity rush hour.
– The right receptacles: Whenever possible, connect all outdoor
lighting into receptacles protected by weatherproof ground fault
circuit interrupters (GFCI). These can provide protection from
electric shock by sensing ground leakage and cutting electrical
3. Holiday housekeeping – indoor safety tips
– Gas fireplaces
– Beware of broken glass: Do not use your gas fireplace if the
glass panel is removed, cracked or broken. Glass panels and
frame assemblies should be replaced only by a qualified service
– Buy the Blue Flame: When purchasing or installing a gas
fireplace, check for the mark of an accredited certification
organization such as the Blue Flame mark from CSA
International. This indicates the fireplace meets applicable
– Carbon-monoxide alarms
– Level it: Install at least one carbon-monoxide (CO) alarm near
bedrooms. Use more than one CO alarm if sleeping areas are
located on different levels of your home.
– Respect the rules: Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for
installing and maintaining your CO alarms.
– Buy the Blue Flame: When purchasing a CO alarm, check for the
mark of an accredited certification organization such as the
Blue Flame and CSA 6.19-01 reference mark from CSA
International. This indicates it meets applicable national
– Smoke Alarms
– Sound the alarm: Test your smoke alarms monthly to make sure
they work. One smoke alarm is not enough. Install smoke alarms
on every level of your home and outside all sleeping areas.
Only working smoke alarms can give you the precious seconds
you may need to escape a fire.
– Basement and garage
– Keep it clean: To help prevent CO hazards in your home, have a
qualified heating contractor perform a yearly maintenance check
of your furnace and venting system, and clean or replace your
furnace filter frequently during the heating seasons.
– Clutter buster: Do not store combustible materials such as
gasoline, propane, paper, chemicals, paint, rags and cleaning
products near your gas furnace. Gasoline or propane cylinders
must be stored outside the home.
– Users beware: Never use gasoline or other flammable liquids
in the vicinity of your gas furnace or water heater.
– Check for the Blue Flame: Look for the familiar CSA
International Blue Flame mark on your gas-fired furnace
or water heater to ensure it has been tested and certified
to the applicable standard.