Survive the Holidays

    TORONTO, Dec. 4 /CNW/ - In the wake of 11 fire fatalities in Ontario
since November 1, 2007, Ontario Fire Marshal Pat Burke today joined Toronto
Fire Chief Bill Stewart to urge Ontarians to make fire safety their top
priority this holiday season.
    "We're concerned that this holiday season could be one of the worst yet
for fire fatalities," said Burke at a news conference this morning. "Eleven
fire deaths already is a troubling start to the holidays. We want everyone
around the province to have a safe and happy holiday season and that begins
with fire safety."
    Historically, the holiday season is one of the deadliest times of the
year for home fires. The most common causes of fires during the holidays are
candles and careless cooking. Alcohol is often a contributing factor.
    "With the hustle and bustle of the season, people too easily become
distracted," said Stewart. "A fire can start and grow out of control in mere
seconds. People need to keep an eye on their cooking, keep candles away from
combustible materials, and make sure there are working smoke alarms on every
storey of the home."
    At today's news conference, members of the Office of the Fire Marshal and
Toronto Fire Services provided demonstrations on safe cooking practices and
safe candle use, as well as information on the proper installation and
maintenance of smoke alarms.

    Key holiday fire safety tips include:
    -   Always stay in the kitchen when something is cooking on the stove.
        Keep a lid by the stove so that if a fire does start, you can slide
        the lid over the pot to extinguish the fire;
    -   Place lit candles away from anything that can burn and out of the
        reach of children and pets where they can't be knocked over. Remember
        to snuff out candles before leaving the room or going to bed;
    -   Drink responsibly. Cooking or smoking while under the influence of
        alcohol is too often a contributing factor in fatal fires;
    -   Develop and practice a home fire escape plan so that everyone in your
        home knows what to do if the smoke alarms sound.

For further information:

For further information: Chris Slosser, Office of the Fire Marshal,
(416) 325-3120; Bev Gilbert, Office of the Fire Marshal, (416) 325-3178

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