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The municipalities


  • Keep the following prevention tips in mind for safe decorating during the festive season.

    Christmas tree

    Choose an artificial tree because it is less likely to catch fire than a natural tree.

    If you choose a natural tree

    • Select a freshly cut tree, whose needles do not shed easily.
    • Cut the trunk at an angle and place it in a container of water. Water it on a daily basis.
    • Install the tree more than 1 m away from all heat sources (electric baseboard, heater, fireplace, etc.).
    • Unplug the Christmas lights when the tree begins to dry out.
    • Check with your municipality before disposing of your tree; many have tree collections that turn trees into compost.

    Decorative lights

    • Choose lights that are certified by a recognized organization such as the CSA or ULC.
    • Choose low-heat-emitting bulbs such as LED bulbs.
    • Examine your lights before installing them and discard any that are defective, desiccated, or cracked.
    • Make sure your replacement bulbs have the same voltage as the old ones.
    • Avoid putting indoor-use decorative lights outdoors, or vice versa.
    • Plug any item used outdoors into a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlet.
    • Never overload the electrical system.
    • Use a timer or always unplug your decorative lights when you leave home or go to bed.
    • After the festive season, bring in outdoor lights to prevent damage from the weather and sun. Decorative lights are not designed for long-term use.

    Extension cord

    • If you must use extension cords, choose models approved by a recognized organization such as the CSA or ULC.
    • Avoid cords that are too long and would need to be coiled, as the cable may overheat and cause arcing.
    • If you must use an extension cord for your outdoor decorations, make sure it is designed for outdoor use.
    • Do not overload outlets and extension cords. Use a power strip instead.
    • Do not hide your extension cords under a rug or carpet. The weight of people walking on them and the friction they cause can damage the cord and increase the risk of fire.
    • Do not leave an extension cord in a doorway. The insulation of the cord could be damaged if the door closes on it.
    • Use only one extension cord at a time. Do not connect extension cords end to end.
  • Tree and lights