Sarah Caron

How to prevent fires during the holidays

It’s hard to imagine the holiday season without family gatherings, good food, and festive decorations. However, it’s important to keep safety in mind to prevent your holidays from turning into a complete nightmare.

Accidents happen fast. Taking a closer look at how you decorate your home for the holidays can significantly reduce the risk of fire. A safe holiday is a happy one—as long as you don’t eat too much turkey, that is! But that’s a discussion for another day . . .

First, let’s talk about natural trees

Many people love putting up their Christmas tree before December has even begun. But this practice is a great way to ensure your tree dries out by Christmas Eve, and a dry tree can catch fire in the blink of an eye.

For this reason, it’s important to buy a tree that’s in good condition. Pro tip: If the needles are falling off, the tree isn’t fresh. Once you’ve brought your tree home, make sure to water it regularly. It should also be placed at least a metre away from heat sources, including electric baseboards and other heating elements.

We recommend using a timer to regulate when your tree lights turn on and off. This way, you won’t have to worry about falling asleep or leaving the house having forgotten to turn them off!

Next, consider electrical safety

Catherine Roulin, a firefighter from the St-Étienne-de-Beauharnois fire department, has some advice to help you avoid electrical problems over the holidays:

  • Never overload your electrical circuits with multiple power strips.
  • Make sure to use certified power strips only.
  • Don’t run electrical cords beneath carpets.
  • Avoid plugging extension cords into one another.
  • Use the shortest electrical cords possible.
  • Check that any light-up decorations have the CSA label somewhere on the packaging to ensure they meet current safety standards.

Keep in mind that LED lighting systems are more energy-efficient. If you opt for incandescent lights, make sure they work properly before using them. If some of your incandescent lights need to be changed, replace them with manufacturer bulbs.

Finally, get fire insurance

Or course, fires are already covered by your home insurance policy.

If you rent your home, don’t forget to ask your insurance broker about taking out tenant insurance. This coverage isn’t mandatory in Quebec, but it’s strongly recommended. In addition to helping you regain a minimum quality of life following a loss, it will also cover your civil liability.

A little bit of hitory1

Have you ever wondered where the fire insurance clauses in home insurance policies come from?

  • Home insurance saw the light of day following The Great Fire of London, which ravaged much of London, England, in 1966.
  • Historical records suggest that this type of insurance was first used in Canada at the start of the 19th century.
  • “Fire insurance” is the ancestor of present-day home insurance policies.

Now you are ready for a safe and happy holiday season!

Don’t hesitate to contact your damage insurance broker for advice on the various products available to you.


Source: AMF manual A411-T1, 3rd edition, 2020

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Sarah Caron Damage Insurance Broker
Personal Lines
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