family,  Health,  parenting

Give the Gift of Fire Safety This Christmas

House fires may happen all year round but did you know that Christmas can often be the most dangerous time of year?
House fires may happen all year round but did you know that Christmas can often be the most dangerous time of year?

Shutterstock photo by Olga Kovalenko

Fire Safety

It’s the busiest time of the year. As soon as the snow falls the kids start building their Christmas wish lists and everyone rushes around trying to make the season magical. It’s a given, a tradition, and a blessing too to be able to share time with family, even to be able to afford to entertain, to create moments that are memorable and last for a lifetime. Everyone should be able to share the season with their family. With so much riding on the holidays every year it’s not hard to understand how things like fire safety get overlooked.

The Kitchen Scenario:

Has this ever happened to you? You are cooking that big turkey dinner when the smoke alarm goes off. It always does that when the oven smokes just a little. It’s an overly sensitive alarm, so you pull the battery out and continue cooking. Or your daughter makes popcorn in the microwave and she burns it because she got the settings wrong and left the timer on too long. The smoking popcorn bag sets the siren like alarm off and she covers her ears cringing so you run over, grab a chair and perch on it to extract the battery. Sometimes you shake your head and think – how on earth will this child ever survive without you? Days later, maybe you realize the battery is still out of the alarm. Maybe not. Maybe you remember to replace it, but odds are good that something else comes up. The door bell rings, or the phone, and you forget entirely. The battery is still sitting on the top of the fridge six weeks later. The Solution to this problem is Kidde Worry Free line of photoelectric smoke alarms. Being Photoelectric, the sensor is much less likely to go off when you cook or if your son’s shower generates billowing clouds of steam.  They also have a hush button that silences the alarm for 7 minutes if there is a false alarm.  That way you can clear the air and still be protected if a real fire starts.  Last but not least, all these Worry Free alarms from Kidde have sealed batteries that last 10 years.  Say good bye to ever changing batteries again.

The Christmas tree:

You love the smell of a real tree. There’s nothing like it. It’s the scent of the entire season and you wouldn’t trade that for an artificial tree. It’s your family tradition. You lovingly choose one together, string the lights on and decorate each branch so that it is the perfect backdrop for your Christmas celebrations and photos. You make it yours, and it is picture perfect. There’s so much to do over the holidays. Last minute shopping, wrapping up all the work projects so you can take a few days off to enjoy the holiday, then there’s the entertaining and shovelling too. It all takes time and life goes on even at Christmas. It just speeds forward at a faster pace and you find yourself collapsing into bed after shopping, working, wrapping. You are out the second your head hits the pillow and you don’t think to wonder when someone last watered the tree. Or whether the lights on the tree got turned off.

Reality Check:

I worked at two daily newspapers in my 20s and 30s. When I was newly married, and when I was just an intern I often worked through the holidays. I’d love to tell you that I reported happy Christmas stories every year when I worked December 25 and 26. But the opposite was true. Most years I was reporting a house fire that left a family homeless over the holidays. There were headlines I helped write that were devastatingly sad. Once an entire family was killed when a fire consumed their house and the children hid. And there were several carbon monoxide poisonings back when I worked those holiday shifts. Did you know carbon monoxide is the number one cause of unintentional poisoning deaths in North America? Saddest possible outcomes to a happy holiday time of year. Nobody is untouched by those tragedies. Until recently I never really connected fire safety with the holidays. But now I know. It’s no coincidence that we read more sad house fire stories at Christmas time. It’s a busier time and we forget to think fire safety.

This year I talked to a couple of friends who are fire fighters and I started reading up on fire safety when we moved to our new home. I wanted to be sure the smoke alarms were all working and good quality and I wanted to be clear on what was required for carbon monoxide alarms.  I was surprised to discover our new house has some Kidde smoke alarms which is great, because they are #1 in Canada.  We replaced the carbon monoxide alarms when we moved to be safe. Still, I know there’s more we can all do to take care especially at this time of year.

fire safety
Fire safety is extremely important during the holiday season.

So what can you do at Christmas to be safe:

1. Water your Christmas tree often.

(A lot of fires start when trees dry out)

2. Check the lights and be sure that they are all in working condition and there are no frayed wires. If there are then you need to replace them.

3. Make sure smoke alarms are in working order. Kidde’s Worry Free line of smoke alarms can help with this.  If any of your existing alarms are over 10 years old, throw them out and get new ones.  Ten years is their lifespan.

4. Make sure you are being safe with Carbon Monoxide. You should have one carbon monoxide outside every area you sleep.  Kidde offers several great options for CO alarms too. The new Worry Free CO alarms also have ten-year batteries which means you don’t have to worry about changing them. They have an extremely accurate sensor. And there is one model with a digital display so the alarm itself tells you constantly if there is any carbon monoxide in your home.  And like smoke alarms, I found out that you need to replace your CO alarms every 7-10 years too depending on the brand.  All of Kidde’s last 10 years.

5. Know the law. It is mandatory in Ontario that there be a working smoke alarm on every storey of your house and outside, or near sleeping quarters. Thanks to new legislation in Ontario, it is also mandatory to have a carbon monoxide alarm in your home near all sleeping areas.

6. Always extinguish your candles.

This year think safety and take care of your home and family. It also makes sense to give the gift of safety. When I was a young mom I welcomed gifts that helped me feel that I was taking care of my family and doing my best to keep them safe. One year we asked for a Carbon Monoxide alarm and smoke alarms. To me it made a lot more sense to gift something useful, something that could even save our lives one day.

This is a sponsored post and I received compensation to share the topic. This is an important subject and I know it matters to my readers.

Mom of two beautiful active girls, traveller, fitness junkie, social media consultant, and keeper of the sanity.