Celebrate holidays with sparkle, not sparks

December 20, 2017
Public service announcement

The holidays are a time of entertaining, celebration and festive cheer and the Kelowna Fire Department wants to help all residents enjoy the holiday season safely.

Last year the Kelowna Fire Department attended 10 calls in December related to fires, most of which had preventable causes.

“It’s important to keep safety top-of-mind despite the hustle and bustle,” says Fire Prevention Officer Gayanne Pacholzuk. “A fire can easily start after someone walks away from a pot on the stovetop or when a turkey in the oven is left unattended. It may be obvious, but simple reminders can make a big difference with ensuring the holidays remain safe for all.”

Keep your holiday gatherings safe with these tips:

  • Test your smoke alarms
  • Let guests know of two safe ways to get out of the house
  • Keep candles out of reach of children and pets – pets can knock over candles with a nudge or a wag of a tail and start fires
  • Keep a watchful eye on items on the stove and in the oven, and have a lid nearby to smother pan fires
  • Request smokers go outside and provide them with a deep ashtray with water
  • Use non-candle or LED candles for décor items as table centerpieces

In addition to holiday entertaining safety tips, some potential fire hazards can lurk under the tree.

“Electronic gifts such as smart phones, laptops, scooters and remote control kids’ toys are always popular,” adds Pacholzuk. “How a toy or gadget can start a fire might not be something you think about, but lithium ion batteries can easily ignite with misuse.”

These batteries store a large amount of energy in a small amount of space. If they are not used right away or if they are used in the wrong device, sparks can fly. The Kelowna Fire Department recommends the following safety tips for electronic gifts:

  • Only use the charging cord and batteries that are designed for the device
  • Place batteries in the device right away
  • Keep batteries at room temperature and away from sunlight
  • Never leave a device to charge under your pillow, on your bed or on a couch

If you notice an odor, change of colour, too much heat, leaking, change in shape or odd noises coming from the battery stop use immediately. If safe to do so, move the device to a safe location and call 9-1-1.

Batteries should be disposed of safely at an appropriate recycling depot that accepts them. Do not put batteries in the trash and do not keep batteries in a pile.

For more information on fire safety for the holidays, visit kelowna.ca/fire.