Around-the-house holiday safety
According to recent researtch, 10 percent of Canadians surveyed (1,513 Canadians) never check their lights for safety hazards before hanging them. Twenty-five percent of Canadians surveyed leave their lights up long after the season's over and 17 percent of respondents said that choosing home decor accessories that meet Canadian safety standards is not a priority.
"Keeping the holidays safe should also be on Canadians' minds this year," says Ash Sahi, president and CEO, CSA Group. "CSA International is asking all Canadians to take a moment to think about safety around their homes and neighbourhoods as they purchase and hang holiday decorations this season," says Ash.
Put fire prevention at the top of your list
During the Christmas season everyone has an abundance of things to do. But, as you're rushing around decorating, entertaining and crossing things off your lists, make fire safety a priority as well. "As we get closer to the holidays, the number of fires and fire fatalities often increases," says Ontario Fire Marshal Pat Burke. He says, "Fire can be easily prevented in your home by staying in the kitchen while you are cooking, checking your holiday lights before you decorate and making sure candles are out of reach of children. And you should always remember to test all of your smoke alarms."
Have a fun and safe holiday with these safety tips from CSA International.
- Before working on outdoor wiring, cut the electricity supply and unplug any connections.
- Lights should be inspected every year before hanging. Any light strings with frayed cords, cracked lamp holders or loose connections should be ditched.
- Check that replacement light bulbs match the voltage and wattage of the original and ensure that bulb reflectors fit the light string.
- Look for a certification mark like the CSA on anything electrical, including lights and decorations. Also ensure that outdoor decor is certified by CSA for outdoor use.
- All outdoor lighting should be plugged into receptacles protected by weatherproof ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI), which protects you from getting an electrical shock by cutting power when it senses ground leakage.
- When hanging outdoor lights, keep electrical connections above ground and away from water. Insulated fasteners work best to hold light strings up rather than metal nails or tacks.
- Never staple light strings or extension cords to a wall or cubicle.
- Remove lights immediately after the holiday season. They are made only for temporary use and can be damaged by harsh weather conditions.
- Store your lights and decorations in their original package. Important information about replacement bulbs and instructions for proper use are often printed on the packaging.
General safety tips
- Open flames or candles should be kept away from flammable decorations like wreaths, trees or paper decorations.
- Though candles set the right mood for your party, they should be kept out of the reach of children or pets.
- If you are on the hunt for the perfect Christmas tree, make sure it's fresh. They aren't as likely to dry out and become a fire hazard.
- Artificial trees should be made of fire-resistant material and should have a certification mark on them like the CSA if they have electrical lights.
- When decorating your tree, think about safety when you're placing your ornaments. As pretty as they may be, your breakable baubles could be a hazard to your children or pets. Think about placing them higher up on your tree to protect all the little ones in your house. And always remember to shop only for flame-resistant decorations.
- Always make sure you purchase decorations with a certification stamp from an organization such as the CSA, otherwise you may be purchasing a fake. If the box doesn't show a company address or contact info, it's probably a fake.
- Check packaging for substandard design or incomplete diagrams. Fakes often have misspelled words and unclear print on products and labels as well as inconsistencies between the product and the package description.
- Finally, check the product for its weight. Counterfeit products are usually light and flimsy.