Holiday Season Fire Safety

The holidays are a busy and joyous time – and they also come with their own unique set of fire hazards.

Statistics show the months of December to February have the most home fires in the year as people turn to small portable heaters to keep warm and decorate their homes for the holidays. Combustible materials such as a tree, decorations and wrapping paper, and heat sources such as lights, extension cords and candles call for additional safety precautions.

Port Coquitlam Fire & Emergency Services provides the following tips to help residents stay safe this holiday season.

When using portable electric space heaters

  • Purchase a heater that has a CSA or ULC approved seal.
  • Keep the heater at least 1 metre (3 feet) away from anything that could catch fire or burn such as drapes, clothes, papers, people and pets.
  • Always turn off and unplug the space heater when you leave the room or go to bed.

Holiday Decorating

  • Make sure the tree is at least one metre away from any heat source, like fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents or lights.
  • If using a real tree, purchase one with green needles that are hard to pull from branches, and keep it watered.
  • Choose flame resistant or flame-retardant decorations.
  • Blow out lit candles prior to leaving a room or going to bed, and always supervise children around lit candles.
  • Only use lights outside that are designed and CSA approved for outdoor use and fully intact strings of lights without loose bulb connectors or broken or frayed wires.
  • Use clips to hang holiday lights, as staples may damage electrical cords.
  • Unplug lights when not in use or overnight to decrease risk of electrical fires.

Holiday Cooking

  • When cooking, do not leave your stove unattended and monitor nearby children.
  • Stay in the kitchen at all times. Keep a close eye on the food, especially if you are frying.
  • Keep things that can catch fire, such as towels, packaging, oven mitts and wooden utensils away from the cooking area.
  • Never put water on a grease or oil fire. Cover the pot or pan with a lid or baking sheet and turn off the heat. Do not move the pot or pan while it’s hot. It could spill causing burns or a fire.

For more information on holiday safety, visit or call 604-927-5466.




Ximena Ibacache
Manager of Communications & Administrative Services
City of Port Coquitlam
Tel 604.927.5499