Making the season safe

For most of us ‘tis the season to be jolly; our homes are transformed with holiday decorations and the smell of sugar cookies fills the air. With everyone’s social calendar being so busy his time of year common sense can sometimes be overlooked. It’s a good idea to be reminded of some helpful hints ensuring you and your family are kept safe. In fact you can hear a lot of good home advice in many of our favorite Christmas narratives and carols.

  • Stockings hung by the Chimney with care: This of course is a line from the familiar ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas’ poem which was first published nearly two hundred years ago. Be aware that items hung from a hearth or mantle can be a major fire hazard. Sure the stockings are quite picturesque near a roaring flame but it could also be a serious mood killer should a spark land on one. Move stockings and any other decorations to another location when using your fireplace.
  • Oh the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful: One of the best-selling songs of all-time ‘Let it Snow’ is a definite classic enjoyed with a mug of hot chocolate and the warmth of a wood burning fire. While a crackling fire should be delightful it can quickly become a liability during this season when they are in maximum use. The Office of the Fire Commissioner recommends that you have your chimney cleaned and professionally inspected prior to each winter season. It’s not too late to have this done and for a nominal cost of less than $200 you’ll feel better each time you throw a log-on the grate.
  • O Christmas Tree: or O Tannenbaum (depending on your heritage) is a family tradition which is adorned each year with ornaments that bring back many happy memories. If you have an artificial tree make sure it is fire resistant and that it is not near a heat source or blocking an exit path. For those that prefer a live tree be aware of dropping needles as this would indicate a dry tree that needs to be watered. It’s also a good idea to have a fire extinguisher nearby with a minimum rating of 3A, 10BC.

For more information on these and other safety tips contact the Office of the Fire Commissioner by visiting

Source: Brandon Scott is a Sherwood Park / Edmonton Mortgage Broker and the author of a weekly column entitled Real Estate Solutions in the Sherwood Park News. This article was originally published on December 17, 2013

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