Don't get all fired-up over the holidays

    December a "hot" month for candle fires, warns BCAA Insurance

    BURNABY, BC, Dec. 11 /CNW/ - Despite the winter weather, December is one
of the hottest months of the year when it comes to candles and fire hazards,
warns BCAA Insurance.
    According to Fire Prevention Canada, December generates 20 times the
average monthly number of candle-related incidents. And, as the 25th draws
nearer, so do fire hazards. In fact, between December 15 and 30 alone,
candle-related fires increase by a whopping 140 per cent.
    BCAA Insurance Claims Manager, Rob Keeper says open flame is one of the
leading causes of home fires, and cautions homeowners to be extra vigilant
when burning seasonal candles.
    "Candles can add to the festive atmosphere, but they can also be
dangerous if not used properly," says Keeper. "The biggest mistakes people
make with candles is placing them too close to flammable objects, or in areas
where they can get knocked over. Other oversights include simply forgetting
about them and letting them burn unattended."
    The single biggest day for fire-related claims reported to BCAA Insurance
last December was the 27th. Keeper speculates that may be due to people
leaving an abundance of used wrapping paper or boxes lying around, or to
people becoming too relaxed and complacent following Christmas feasting and
festivities. "You should never let your guard down when it comes to the safety
of your home and family," reminds Keeper.
    To help ensure that your holiday season stays fire-free, BCAA recommends
the following:

    -   Be wary of novelty candles surrounded by flammable paint, paper or
        dried flowers.

    -   Keep lit candles well away from anything that could catch fire, away
        from windows and drafts, and away from locations where they might get
        knocked over.

    -   Burn only when a responsible adult is overseeing. Never leave a child
        or pet unattended in a room with a candle. Keep candles, matches and
        lighters up high, out of the reach of children.

    -   Place candles firmly in candle holders that are sturdy and won't
        easily tip.

    -   Avoid using wood or plastic candle holders which can easily catch
        fire. Metal candle holders are safer. Also, take care when using
        glass candle holders - they can heat up and burn fingers, or even
        break if the flame gets too hot.

    -   Snuff candles out before leaving the house or going to sleep.

    -   Be aware that live trees, wreathes and centre-pieces tend to dry out
        and become more flammable during the latter part of the holidays

    -   Keep wrapped gifts and trees away from fireplaces where they may be
        exposed to sparks and intense heat.

    -   Check smoke detector batteries regularly and practice home escape
        plans so you'll be prepared in the event of a fire.

    -   Ensure you have a fire extinguisher in your home. Keep the
        extinguisher near an exit so if the fire spreads rapidly, you can
        leave the home quickly.

    Homeowners and renters are also advised to consult their insurance
advisor to ensure their home and/or belongings are adequately covered in case
of fire.

    BCAA Insurance is one of the largest providers of home, auto, travel
medical and life insurance in B.C. BCAA insures over 100,000 homes in the
province and receives an 80 percent total satisfaction rating with the overall
claims process - 40 percent higher than the industry average. Each year, BCAA
sells more travel insurance than any other provider in B.C. To learn more
about the products and services offered by BCAA Insurance, visit

For further information:

For further information: Rob Keeper, Manager, Claims & Systems, Tel:
(604) 268-5459, Email:; Krista Charbonneau, Corporate
Communications, Tel: (604) 268-5175, Email:

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