Be Prepared for Santa Not Sirens

The winter holiday season is the most wonderful time of the year. Unfortunately,
it is also the time of year where deaths related to fire increases dramatically.

At Cooke Insurance Group, we want to help keep your family safe by sharing the following fire safety tips with you. Please take a moment to click on any of the following links and help decrease the risk of fire this holiday season.


This Christmas give your family and friends a gift that saves lives…a smoke alarm. Most fatal fires take place at night, while you and your family are asleep – when seconds can make the difference between life and death. If you have one or more working smoke alarms in your home you double your chances of surviving a fire. Smoke alarms are inexpensive and easy to install.
Smoke alarms – they’re protectors.

The central heating system in homes is often supplemented with space heaters.
To prevent heating fires:

  • Keep the space heater at least one meter away from combustibles, such as paper,
    bedding, furniture and curtains.
  •  Turn off the space heater before going out or going to bed.


    •  Never burn gift wrappings, boxes, cartons, or other types of packing in the fireplace.

They burn too rapidly and generate far too much heat.

  •  Don’t hang Christmas stockings from the mantel when the fireplace is in use.
  •  Always use a screen in front of the fireplace to protect against flying sparks.
  •  Never use gasoline or any other flammable liquids to start a fire.
  •  Use only small quantities of seasoned and dried wood.
  •  Never leave the fire unattended or let it smoulder.
  •  Clean the ashes regularly.
  •  Place the ashes in a metal container and store outside away from flammable materials.
  •  Don’t use Christmas trees for firewood.

Candles are a traditional and beautiful part of the holiday season. They can also be a source of fire in your home, so be cautious with them. Place candles in non-tip candle holders and ensure they are well away from the Christmas tree and other holiday decorations. Never leave lit candles unattended and ensure that they are out of reach of children. Enjoy the festive season by putting safety first.

Most Christmas fires can be prevented. Before buying your Christmas tree, test it for freshness by tapping the base of the tree on the ground. If needles fall or can be pulled off easily the tree is too dry. At home, find a cool spot for your tree, away from heater vents and the fireplace. Keep your tree as fresh as possible by watering it often.

Practice fire safety in the kitchen this holiday season. Cooking oil and fat fires account for a large proportion of these holiday fires. Be extra careful when cooking. The best way to fry foods is to use an electric-temperature-controlled skillet or a deep-fat fryer. Here’s what to do if cooking oil or fat in a pot or pan catches fire:

  •  Turn off the heat immediately.
  •  Smother the flames by covering the pan with a lid.
  •  Use baking soda (flour can be explosive) on shallow grease fires.
  •  Never turn on the overhead fan, as this could spread the fire.
  •  Never throw water on a grease fire, as an explosive fire-ball could fill the kitchen.

A stovetop fire can start in a flash, so never leave stovetop cooking unattended. Keep all combustibles away from the stove. This includes tea towels, wooden or plastic spoons and paper towels.

There is often a tendency to overload wall outlets during the holiday season and it is a fire hazard. Overloading electrical outlets is unsafe and should be avoided even for short durations.

  •  Inspect all cords before using; make sure they are CSA certified. Read the labels and manufacturer’s instructions to ensure proper use.
  •  Look for loose connections or frayed or exposed wire. Discard any defective cords.
  • Insert plugs fully into outlets. Poor contact may cause overheating or shock.
  •  Do not coil or bunch an extension cord which is in use and do not run it under carpets or rugs.
  •  Never use indoor extension cords outside.
  •  Keep outdoor electrical connectors above ground and out of puddles and snow.

Be careful when placing cords behind or beneath furniture; pinched cords can cause them to fray and even short out.


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