Gingerbread houses, hand-knit scarves and…fire alarms?

The easy DIY project that could save your life

‘Tis the season to be crafty! As all DIYers know, the holidays are the perfect time to let your talents shine - and sparkle! Homemade candles, ornaments and baked goods are just some of the ways creative artists can gift personalized presents. Aside from being truly one-of-a-kind, these items all share one unfortunate theme: they’re all common parts of seasonal fires. It’s an unpleasant topic, but the fact remains that much like eggnog hangovers, fire hazards increase over the festive break. Sometimes mere minutes separate a cozy scene from a dangerous spark. Each year, local firemen anxiously warn residents about the dangers of unmonitored candles, ovens and dry trees. The Christmas season already brings nosy in-laws, loud neighbours and screaming kids - why add to the stress with an avoidable fire?

Common sources of holiday fires

Candles: Are you the type that thinks Douglas fir-scented candles smell better than real trees? No judgment, but if you must spread the aroma, remember to snuff out all flickering flames before bed. Small burns may seem harmless but a gentle nudge from a running toddler can quickly ignite curtains, table cloths and other nearby household materials. One out of every 4 people admit to leaving candles burning while they’re not home. Don’t be one of them.

Smoking: Is your home strictly smoke free? That’s great, but with holiday dinners combining coworkers, distant cousins and dates, one guest is bound to sneak away for an evening cigarette. Aside from the obvious health risk, smoking is a major cause of large blazes. Hundreds of fires per year are sparked by tossed butts.

Cooking: Every holiday host knows the rush of panic that comes in the hour leading up to party time. While you try to finish off the food, plate the appetizers and get yourself dressed, it’s easy to forget to unplug an appliance or turn off the stove. However, an accidental mishap in the kitchen can quickly escalate to a spreading flame.

Outlets and extension cords: From glowing strings of lights to dancing Santas, there’s no shortage of holiday furnishings that require a zap of electricity. But did you know that covering an extension cord with piles of gifts or rugs can cause a build-up of heat? To avoid sparking a flame it’s best to use a surge-protected cord and keep the area free of objects.

Christmas trees: Say it ain’t so! The crowning jewel of any holiday home is a tall, glittering tree. Yet the heat from hundreds of small bulbs resting on dry pine needles can quickly ignite, causing some of the worst hazards of the season. In fact, a Christmas tree fire can quickly engulf an entire room in less than 60 seconds. It’s paramount that every homeowner diligently waters their tree, uses newer, more efficient lights and makes sure flammable sources like candles are kept far away from the decorations.

Space heaters: Everyone has at least one of this type of relative. It could be a scorching summer day but while the rest of the family is sweating, they’re pulling on a sweater. For those with icicle toes, a portable heater is a common solution. To avoid an accidental disaster, make sure the device is plugged into a wall socket instead of an extension cord and the model has an automatic shutoff.

A DIY Solution to Home and Fire Safety

If you’re frantically working through your holiday to-do list, don’t forget to include safety and allow all your hard work to go up in smoke. Are you more sports fan than handyman? You don’t have to be a DIY expert to install your own security system with a smoke detector. A quick email or call to 1-844-898-8349 will lead you to a friendly professional to explain the simple process. Your system will be delivered for free by the next business day and you’ll be walked through the roughly 10-minute setup over the phone. If only holiday dinners with the extended family were that easy!