This holiday season, stay safe at home and on the road with these tips

The most wonderful time of the year is here. It’s time for flickering, coloured lights, wintry weather, and rosy cheeks. With all the excitement and joy the holidays bring, it’s also important to have safety top - of mind during the festivities.

To avoid having to file a home insurance or auto insurance claim, here are a few tips to prevent accidents at home or on the road:

Fire safety tips

How to adhere to fire safety within the home:

  • Ensure you have working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors installed.
  • Ensure you have a working fire extinguisher and first-aid kit, and everyone in your home knows where these items are and how to use them.
  • If you live in a condominium or apartment building, know where the fire exits are.
  • Extinguish all candles when leaving a room or going to sleep. Some candles have burn limits of no more than two or three hours. Make sure to check and follow the guidelines.
  • Use sturdy candle holders and keep candles away from items that can catch fire easily.
  • If you have a real Christmas tree at home, water it daily, and keep it away from heat sources.
  • If you have an artificial tree, ensure it is certified as fire-resistant and keep it away from heat sources like a fireplace, heating vent, and candles.
  • Use a secure, manufacturer-recommended fire screen in front of your fireplace.
  • Have your chimney cleaned and inspected at least once a year.
  • Burn clean hardwood that has not been painted or chemically treated.
  • Stay in the kitchen when cooking and be sure to turn off the stove and oven when finished. Also, be careful when dealing with hot oil while deep-frying foods. Try using a temperature-controlled skillet or deep-fat fryer appliance.

Light safety tips

Be cautious when decorating your home with lights:

  • Use lights accredited by a certification agency, such as CSA, C-UL, or cETL. It may be worthwhile to check the federal government’s Healthy Canadians Recalls and Safety Alerts Database before buying or using lights to find out about the latest recalls.
  • Use indoor lights inside your home and outdoor lights outside.
  • Check all light bulbs before putting lights up and replace broken or burned-out bulbs.
  • Inspect the light strings and extension cords that you’ll use, and throw out damaged ones.
  • Do not overload electrical outlets. Use a power bar for multiple wires.
  • Turn off all holiday lights before going to bed or leaving home.

Road safety tips

Be cautious on the roads during the busy holiday season:

  • Make sure you are alert, well-rested, and sober while driving. Avoid distractions, such as using a mobile device or eating behind the wheel.
  • See and be seen. Clear all snow and ice from the hood, roof, windows, headlights and taillights of your vehicle.
  • Check weather and travel conditions before heading out. Give yourself extra time for travel and, if the weather is bad, wait for conditions to improve.
  • Drive according to the condition and slow down to avoid skidding. Leave earlier to get to your destination in time and practise cautious driving by anticipating lane changes, turns, and curves.
  • Proper braking is essential to safe driving during the winter. The best way to stop on a slippery surface is to use threshold or controlled braking and shift to neutral.
  • Stopping on a slippery surface requires more space, so make sure there is sufficient distance between your car and other cars ahead of you. While driving, it is a good idea to focus your attention as far ahead as possible.

Lastly, while there are no official COVID-19 restrictions or public health guidelines still in place with respect to gatherings, be sure to practise safe distancing, masking, and sanitizing to prevent any further COVID-19 outbreaks.

Happy holidays!

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