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A Holiday Message from Hamilton Fire


HAMILTON, ON – December 23, 2014 – At this festive time of year, Rob Simonds Chief of the Hamilton Fire Department would like to take an opportunity on behalf of all members of the Hamilton Fire Department, to wish all citizens of the City of Hamilton a safe and happy holiday season.

The holiday season is a joyous time to spend with family and friends but it is also a time of year that has proven to be deadly. The best way to protect your family and home from fire is to prevent one from starting in the first place. The most common causes of home fires during the holidays are candles and careless cooking. Alcohol is often a contributing factor.

Remember to always place lit candles out of reach of children and pets, where they can’t be knocked over, and away from anything that can burn such as holiday decorations. Candles should be covered by glass chimneys and kept out of bedrooms. Always blow out candles before leaving the room or going to bed.

The most common type of cooking fire is cooking left unattended on the stove. Make sure you always stay in the kitchen when cooking, especially when cooking with oil or at high temperatures. Keep a lid by the stove so that if a fire does start, you can slide the lid over the pot to extinguish the fire. Keep combustible materials like plastic spoons and tea towels away from the stove.

Many fire deaths are caused by people attempting to cook or smoke while under the influence of alcohol. Don’t let this happen in your home. Alcohol can affect a person’s judgement and reduce their ability to react in an emergency situation. Keep a close eye on drinkers and install working smoke alarms on every storey of your home. Fire and smoke spread so quickly you may have as little as 60 seconds to escape if a fire does start in your home. Make sure everyone in your home knows exactly what to do if the smoke alarms sound. Develop and practice a home fire escape plan with your entire family.

A medical emergency can also occur at any time. Have a first aid kit in your home and keep it in a location that is known to everyone. If you are entertaining during the holidays, please remember those with food allergies. Ensure that all your guests are aware of the ingredients.

When decorating your Christmas tree, remember that young children are curious and may reach for objects on the tree, leading to a choking hazard or causing a tree to fall over on them. Use a tie back to secure your tree and keep small decorations and objects out of the reach of children. Tinsel is also a common cause of choking in young children.

Clear your walkways of snow and ice. This not only helps visitors to your home but also emergency personnel who may be called upon to assist you in an emergency. With the recent large snowfall we have experienced, it is also a time to clear snow away from fire hydrants so that they are clearly visible to responding firefighters. Check snow accumulations around all your exterior exit doors, gas meters and around the furnace or hot water heater vent pipes located on the outside wall of your home.

The Hamilton Fire Department knows all too well how quickly holiday celebrations can turn to tragedy when you forget to include safety in your holiday plans. Please follow the above noted safety tips and have a safe and happy holiday!

For more information on fire safety, contact our Fire Prevention Division at 905 546-2424 Ext. 1380, weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. or visit our web-site at

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