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Wednesday December 12th, 2012

Posted at 2:00pm

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The Fire Marshal’s Public Fire Safety Council has launched its second annual 12 Days of Holiday Fire Safety Campaign, with a goal to help prevent fire and carbon monoxide tragedies at a time when people tend to let their guard down.

“Our team of investigators knows all too well the deadly consequences of fire safety fundamentals left unattended,” says Ted Wieclawek, Ontario Fire Marshal and Chair of the Fire Marshal’s Public Fire Safety Council. “Our 12 Days of Holiday Fire Safety campaign focuses on the 12 tips that we know can have the biggest impact on reducing devastating fires and carbon monoxide exposures,” Wieclawek adds.

“Fire tragedies are in decline for 2012 in this province—25 fewer deaths so far this year—but the holiday season can bring distractions that lead to tragedy,” says Wieclawek.

The remarks are echoed by Windsor’s Fire Chief Bruce Montone. “While fire can happen anywhere, at anytime, it most often strikes when people let their guard down—when individuals are distracted by the hustle and bustle of the holidays, by the telephone, by the kids or by the doorbell. All it takes is for a pot to be left on the stove, or a candle to be left burning unattended, and a family’s holiday celebrations can turn to tragedy,” he says.

Homeowners and renters alike are urged to check their safety routine against these 12 Days of Holiday Fire Safety tips:

1.Water fresh trees daily. Keep the base of the trunk in water at all times.
2.Check all sets of lights before decorating. Discard any sets that are frayed or damaged.
3.Make sure you have working smoke alarms. Remember, they wear out, so replace them every 10 years.
4.Make sure you have working carbon monoxide alarms. Remember, they wear out, so replace them every 7-10 years.
5.Make sure everyone knows how to get out safely if a fire occurs. Develop and practice a home fire escape plan.
6.Use extension cords wisely. Extension cords should be used only as a temporary connection.
7.Give space heaters space. Keep them at least one metre away from anything that can burn.
8.When you go out, blow out! Remember to always blow out candles before leaving the room.
9.Keep matches and lighters out of the sight and reach of children. Matches and lighters can be deadly in the hands of children.
10.Watch what you heat! Always stay in the kitchen when cooking.
11.Encourage smokers to smoke outside. Careless smoking is the leading cause of fatal fires.
12.There’s more to responsible drinking than taking a cab home. Alcohol is all too often a common factor in many fatal fires.

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