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Seasonal Safety Tips

The holiday season is a time for families and friends to get together, but it can also mean a greater risk for fire. With December festivities upon us, the three North Shore Fire Departments encourage residents and businesses to consider the following safety tips to ensure a happy and safe holiday season.

Smoke Alarms

Smoke alarms give your family an early warning of smoke and fire. This December, change your alarm batteries and replace alarms ten years old (recycle your old alarms). Plan and practice your home fire escape plan to ensure a fire-safe holiday for your family and guests. Consider giving the life-saving gift of a smoke alarm this holiday season.

Carbon Monoxide Safety

Carbon monoxide is an invisible, odorless, colorless gas created when fuels burn incompletely. A person can be poisoned by a small amount of CO over a long period of time or by a large amount of CO over a short period of time.

  • Install a CO detector in a central location outside each sleeping area and on every level of your home.
  • Never operate a vehicle, lawnmower or other gasoline-powered tool inside a garage, even with the garage doors open.
  • Have a qualified technician inspect chimneys and vents on an annual basis.

Find out more about smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms here.

    Christmas Trees

    Before buying a tree, test it for freshness by tapping the base of the tree on the ground or pulling lightly on a limb. If many needles fall off or can easily be pulled off, the tree is too dry. Keep your tree as fresh as possible by placing it outdoors with the stump in a bucket of water until you are ready to decorate. Before setting up the tree inside the house, trim two inches off the stem diagonally so it can absorb water. Mount the tree securely in a large, wide-based reservoir stand and add water each day to ensure the tree is well watered. Choose a suitable location for your tree, ensuring that it is well away from heating sources and clear of all exits.


    • Choose decorations that are flame resistant or retardant
    • Replace any strings of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections. Consider replacing older strings of lights with LED lights which could reduce your holiday lighting energy use by up to 90%.  
    • Use clips, not nails, to hang lights so the cords do not get damaged
    • Remember to turn off lights and unplug your Christmas tree before leaving a room or going to bed


    Candle related fires are a year-round concern in BC homes. These concerns escalate during the winter holidays. Keep your home safe this holiday season by using care and caution with candles.

    • Always monitor open flames and candles, especially if children or pets are present
    • Keep candles away from curtains, decorations, clothing, windows and drafts
    • Cut candle wicks short to prevent high flames
    • Extinguish all candles when leaving the room

    Safe Ride Home

    The North Vancouver RCMP would like to remind everyone that during the holiday season, they will be on the lookout for impaired drivers. With increased alcohol consumption during the holidays, the number of RCMP Counterattack Road-Checks will also increase. It's simple. If you are going to be drinking, plan ahead. Have a designated driver, call a cab or use seasonal organizations such as Operation Red Nose. There is no excuse to drive while impaired this holiday season.

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