Cheering on winter holiday safety

December 15, 2020

The festive season is upon us and the City’s safety agencies are once again, gearing up with some safety tips to help keep the holidays un-fir-gettable and safe for all.

“Even during a pandemic, the holidays are a time for giving thanks, valuing time with our families and celebrating our community,” said Rick Euper, Fire and Life Safety Educator/Inspector with the Kelowna Fire Department. “However, it’s also a time when we see an increase of Kelowna fire dispatch calls related to vehicle accidents, kitchen or electrical house fires and snow-related injuries.”

Residents can reduce the risk of injury, fire, and take an active role in crime prevention by following a few tips provided by the Kelowna Fire Department, Bylaw Services and the Kelowna RCMP and Crime Prevention teams.

Twelve holiday safety tips:

  • Candles. Pros: the light, the scents, the ambience. Cons: the fire hazards. Keep candles out of reach of kids and pets – and off of trees. Try energy conserving and FireSmart LED candles and bulbs instead.
  • Your presents is required during holiday cooking: keep an eye on the oven and never leave the kitchen unattended. Cooking is a leading cause of fires during the holidays
  • Show your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms some holiday spirit – test them and gift them some new batteries
  • Holiday tangles can happen with the overuse of extension cords. Keep things tidy and safe and avoid overextending electrical outlets and do not coil up charged extension cords.
  • Stay on the nice list: when parking, avoid blocking residential and commercial driveways
  • An inattentive moment while shopping can result in an unintended (and costly) consequence. Keep a watchful eye on payment cards, wallet and purse while shopping in stores
  • An emergency kit in your vehicle can be a lifesaving gift. Make sure it includes a blanket, road flares, flashlight, small fire extinguisher, first aid kit, non-perishable food and bottled water
  • Get home safely for the holidays, never drink and drive. Plan for a safe ride by giving your keys to your host, taking transit or calling a cab
  • Grinch-proof your vehicle to prevent theft and fraud: remove valuables and lock doors. A minute is all it takes for a crime of opportunity to take place
  • Avoid stacking gifts and decorations in close proximity to base board heater.  Baseboard heaters need air to vent and not to overheat the products around them.
  • Do not use fireworks at New Years.  Residential fireworks are not permitted within the City of Kelowna.
  • Recommend using a fire resistant artificial tree.  If you must use a live tree, we recommend watering it daily. 

Throughout December, Kelowna RCMP will be out patrolling neighbourhoods, shopping districts and parking lots  to deter potential theft activity.

On the roads, the Kelowna RCMP launched their Counter Attack campaign on Dec.5, which will run throughout December.

“Our officers are conducting roadside checks for drivers impaired by both alcohol and drugs,” said Cpl. Jocelyn Noseworthy with the Kelowna RCMP. “In the first weekend, officers took 10 drivers impaired by drugs or alcohol off the road. If you are planning on drinking, please do not drive. By finding an alternative way home such as transit, cabs, or a designated driver you can help ensure that you, and people sharing the road with you, get to their destination safely. If you witness a suspected impaired driver, please call 9-1-1.”

On the snow-front, residents and business owners are reminded that they are responsible for removing snow and ice from sidewalks adjacent to their property within 24 hours of a snowfall. “While it is a City bylaw,” said Dan Maja, Bylaw Services Acting Supervisor, “It’s also a great opportunity to get outside for some exercise and friendly neighbourhood interaction all while doing your part to keep the community safe.”

It is also important to clear the snow approximately one metre around a fire hydrant, if there is one on the property, to allow for quick access in the case of a fire emergency.

For more information about Kelowna’s safety agencies, visit kelowna.ca/safety.