BCAA offers advice to home owners to reduce the risk of seasonal fires
BURNABY, BC, Dec. 17 /CNW/ - Candles, trees and decorations add warmth
to our holiday celebrations, but can also heat up the risk of a house
fire if not handled properly. During this holiday season, the British
Columbia Automobile Association (BCAA) urges homeowners and renters to
take the proper precautions to reduce the risk of a fire and protect
their families and belongings from tragedy.
"Serious fire hazards are often unknowingly created around the house as
candles, fireplaces, holiday lights and highly flammable decoration
items such as trees and ornaments are used to set a festive mood," says
Brooke Moss, BCAA Home Insurance product manager. "And, the hurried
pace of the season adds to the potential of a fire mishap as many
people become distracted around the house while cooking and
BCAA's rate of residential fire-related insurance claims increases
during the holidays, adds Moss. December is the second busiest month
for fire claims next to July.
To reduce the risk of a holiday fire, homeowners and renters are urged
to heed basic safety tips: never leave an open flame or stove in use
unattended; and before leaving home or going to sleep, always turn off
holiday lights and extinguish candles and fireplaces. BCAA also
recommends the following:
Trees and decorations
Fresh or artificial, put the tree in a sturdy stand. Place trees out of
the way of traffic and away from heat sources and exits. Water a fresh
tree daily to prevent it from drying out and becoming increasingly
If you purchase an artificial tree, be sure it is labeled as
fire-retardant. Choose holiday decorations made with flame-retardant or
Indoors or outside, only use lights that have been tested and approved
for safety by a nationally-recognized testing laboratory. Ensure
outdoor lights are certified for outdoor use. Never staple through
light strings or extension cords.
Check holiday lights for broken sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose
connections. Dispose of damaged sets. Consider using newer lights that
have thicker wiring and safety fuses.
Keep lit candles away from: anything that could ignite such as trees,
curtains and decorations; windows and drafts; locations where they can
get knocked over.
Never leave a child or pet unattended in a room with a candle. Keep
candles, matches and lighters up high or locked away, and out of the
reach of children.
Be wary of novelty candles surrounded by flammable paint, paper or dried
flowers. Place candles firmly in candle holders that are sturdy and are
meant to hold hot wax.
Avoid using plastic or wood candle holders which can easily melt or
catch fire. Glass holders can get too hot and burn fingers, or even
break. Metal candle holders are safer.
Keep candle wicks trimmed to 1/4 inch, and extinguish candles when
they're within two inches of the holder.
Do not burn wrapping paper in the fireplace as it can ignite suddenly
and burn intensely, resulting in a flash fire. Never light a fireplace
or wood stove with any combustible fluids.
Use a metal spark screen that covers the entire fireplace opening to
prevent sparks from igniting nearby flammable materials. Keep wrapped
gifts and trees away from fireplaces.
Store ashes outside in a covered metal container, well away from
buildings, grass and bushes.
Holiday cooking and entertaining
Keep an eye on the range or other cooking appliances when in use. Pay
close attention not to accidentally place flammable objects such as
oven mitts or dish rags on stove tops.
If there are smokers around your home, provide plenty of large, deep
ashtrays. Douse cigarette butts with water before discarding or flush
them down the toilet.
BCAA also advises that at least one fire extinguisher be kept inside the
home, smoke detector batteries are checked regularly and families
practice home escape plans. Homeowners and renters are also encouraged
to consult their insurance advisor to ensure their home and/or
belongings are adequately covered in the unfortunate case of a fire.
BCAA is committed to building a reputation for trust, friendliness and
helpfulness as it meets the automotive, road travel and insurance needs
of Members and Customers throughout B.C. and the Yukon. With over 100
years experience and gross annual sales of nearly $400 million, a BCAA
Membership card can be found in the wallets of over 786,000 British
Columbians and in one-in-four B.C. households. BCAA is the largest
organization of its kind in B.C. and has received national recognition
for its home insurance customer service. To learn more about BCAA's
products, services and member advocacy, visit www.bcaa.com. For more information on the BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation visit www.tsfbcaa.com.
SOURCE British Columbia Automobile Association
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