Celebrate the holiday season safely with festive winter tips from CSA International

    TORONTO, Nov. 22 /CNW/ - While celebrating the holidays with friends and
family, it's easy to get caught up in the season's festivities and forget that
holiday decorations can pose a risk of fire or injury. Launching 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 the holiday season.
    According to the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs, faulty cords and
plugs on holiday lighting are the leading causes of indoor fires during this
joyous time of year.
    "Through its Holiday Safety Campaign, CSA International is raising
awareness about safeguarding homes, family and friends while we gather to
celebrate the holidays," said Patrick Burke, president, Canadian Association
of Fire Chiefs and Fire Marshal of Ontario. "During this festive season, fire
safety in and around the home must be considered."
    In 2006 more than 73(*) people in Ontario alone 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 initiatives such as CSA's
Holiday Safety Campaign, designed to increase awareness of fire safety and to
help make our communities safer.

    (*) Office of the Ontario Fire Marshall

    Check this list twice - shopping and decorating tips for a safe holiday

    When decking the halls and hitting the malls this holiday season, CSA
International would like to remind everyone to practice indoor and outdoor
safety - and shop smartly - by following these simple tips to help ensure a
safe and festive holiday.

    Holiday shopping: Don't toy around with fake goodies

    Leading up to the holidays many people will be on the hunt for that
perfect - and perfectly priced - holiday gift, but they should also be on the
lookout for fakes. Counterfeit products are not just about knock-off handbags
and watches. Phoney items can include potentially unsafe items such as
electric toys, household appliances, power tools, consumer electronics and
other gifts that may present a shock or fire hazard.
    Giving a counterfeit item could mean unintentionally putting family and
friends at risk for serious or fatal injury or illness. CSA International
advises consumers to look for signs that identify a bargain gift item that may
be naughty rather than nice.

    -   Look for and inspect the mark: Avoid electrical products if a label
        from a recognized certification organization such as CSA
        International is missing and look at the mark closely to ensure it
        matches the certification marks on other products.
    -   Be cautious of inferior packaging: Counterfeit packaging often has
        poor design or only partial illustrations. Misspellings and unclear
        printing on products and labels may be another indicator of a fake
        product. Check for a discrepancy between the contents of the product
        package and its description, as well as missing product information
        or package enclosures.
    -   Look for a recognized name: When a product doesn't include a brand
        identifier or trademark, it may be a counterfeit. Brand-name
        companies want you to know whose product you're buying. Also look for
        missing return addresses or company contact information.
    -   Beware of huge bargains: If the pricing seems too good to be true, it
        probably is.
    -   Buy solid products: Check the "look and feel" of goods - fake
        products are often too light and too flimsy.
    -   Know your retailer: If in doubt, buy only from reputable, well-known
        stores with clearly stated return policies.
    -   Check with the experts: Confirm CSA International certification of a
        product by comparing the product's identification against the
        certification record at http://directories.csa-international.org

    Brighten the season - indoor lighting safety tips

    -   Inspect to protect: Carefully inspect holiday light strings each year
        and discard any with frayed cords, cracked lamp holders or loose
    -   Unplug then replace: Unplug light strings before replacing bulbs and
        check to ensure replacement bulbs match the voltage and wattage of
        the original bulb.
    -   If it doesn't fit: Ensure that bulb reflectors are the right size for
        the light string.
    -   Goodnight lights: 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.
    -   Box it 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 use.
    -   Flame out: Do not use open flames or candles on or near flammable
        materials such as wreaths, natural trees or paper decorations.
    -   For the office:
        -  Lights out: Ensure that decorative lights are turned off after
           business hours.
        -  When attaching, don't be tacky: Never tack or staple lighting
           strings or extension cords to the wall or cubicle.
        -  Keep an eye on hang ups: Avoid hanging decorations from fire
           sprinklers, blocking exit corridors, or obstructing exit signs,
           fire extinguishers and hose cabinets.

    Let it glow, let it glow, let it glow - outdoor safety tips

    -   Switch off: 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.
    -   Rise above the rest: When hanging lights outdoors, keep electrical
        connectors above ground, out of puddles and snow, and away from metal
        eaves troughs.
    -   Form an attachment: Use insulated fasteners rather than metal nails
        or tacks to hold light strings in place.
    -   Bundle that joy away: Remove outdoor lights promptly after the
        holiday season to avoid damage caused by extended exposure to harsh
        weather conditions.
    -   It's all in the timing: 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.
    -   Pardon the interruption: 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

    Make sure your hearth is healthy - indoor safety tips

    -   Carbon-monoxide alarms
        -  Sleep tight: 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.
        -  Instrumental instructions: Follow the manufacturer's instructions
           for installing and maintaining your CO alarms.
        -  Buy the Flame: When purchasing a CO alarm, check for the mark of
           an accredited certification organization such as the certification
           Flame and CSA 6.19-01 reference mark from CSA International.
    -   Smoke Alarms
        -  Put them to the test: 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.

    CSA International Certification Marks

    To learn more about CSA International certification marks, please visit

    Safety Online

    For a fun and interactive website on holiday safety that the whole family
can enjoy, please visit www.csaholiday.com.

    For more general safety tips, visit

    About CSA International

    CSA International is a provider of product testing and certification
services for electrical, mechanical, plumbing, gas and a variety of other
products. Recognized in the U.S., Canada and around the world, CSA's marks
appear on billions of products worldwide. CSA International is a division of
CSA Group, which also includes: CSA, a developer of standards and codes;
OnSpeX for consumer product evaluation services; and QMI, a leading North
American management systems registrar. CSA International can be found online
at www.csa-international.org

    For Broadcast Journalists: B-roll is available by contacting Amy Clark at

    For Print Journalists: Holiday photos are available by contacting Amy
Clark at 416-969-2758.

For further information:

For further information: Anthony Toderian, Senior Media Relations
Officer, CSA Group, T: (416) 747-2620, E: anthony.toderian@csagroup.org

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