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December 30, 2004
Don't invite disaster to your holiday celebrations
The number of fires and fire deaths typically rises sharply during the holiday
season. Gatherings of family and friends can mean an increase in cooking
activity, which is the leading cause of home fires. Alcohol consumption also
tends to increase this time of year and is cited as a contributing factor in
many of Toronto's fire and vehicle deaths. Add candles, holiday decorations and
heating equipment to the mix and the potential for disaster is great.

You can protect your home and your family from fire with these simple, common
sense safety tips from Toronto Fire Services.

Alcohol: Cooking, smoking and driving while under the influence of alcohol can
be deadly. Keep a close eye on any drinkers in or visiting your household and
make sure all cigarettes are properly extinguished and the stove is off before
going to bed.

Candles: Keep candles in a sturdy holder away from children, pets and
combustible materials. Snuff them out before leaving the room.

Cooking: Look while you cook - unattended cooking is the leading cause of
kitchen fires. Wear tight-fitting or rolled-up sleeves when cooking and keep
all combustible materials a safe distance from the stove.

Christmas trees: Keep the base of the trunk in water at all times. Discard any
broken or frayed sets of lights. Never place lit candles on or near the
Christmas tree. When the tree starts to dry out, dispose of it.

Space heaters: Keep portable heaters at least one metre away from anything that
can burn - including you. Do not use your heaters to dry shoes or clothes.

Heating appliances: Remember to have your furnace inspected each year by a
licensed technician. Your chimney should also be cleaned and inspected annually
to prevent problems that may cause a build-up of carbon monoxide. A carbon
monoxide alarm will alert you to the presence of this deadly gas.

Smoke alarms: It is the law in Ontario to have working smoke alarms. The
Toronto Fire Services recommends that you install one on every level of your
home and outside all sleeping areas. Test your alarms regularly and change the
batteries at least once a year.

Home escape plan: If a fire does occur in your home, everyone must get out as
quickly as possible. Develop a fire escape plan and practice it with your
entire family.

For information about holiday fire safety, visit:
www.toronto.c a/fire/prevention/fire_safe_holiday

Media contact:
David Sheen, Captain, Toronto Fire Services, 416-338-9317 (office),
416-578-4316 (cell), 416-468-9978 (pager)



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