It's almost Christmas and the Fort Saskatchewan Fire Department wants to make sure everyone has a safe and happy holidays.

Assistant fire chief Kam Kelly went over the biggest fire hazards they see this time of year to help people stay aware.


A common way to set the festive mood is by lighting candles in your house. However, candles are one of the biggest fire hazards.

Kelly said keeping an eye on them and making sure they don't come into contact with anything flammable is an easy way to prevent trouble.

"Just making sure you're keeping those lit candles away from decorations and then when you're stepping out of the house, making sure you're blowing them out."

Kids and pets should also be kept away from candles when they are lit so they don't get knocked over.


When it comes to Christmas lights, keep outdoor and indoor lights separate. 

"Just making sure that the lighting that you're using is for the right application."

He advises everyone to check their cords and replace any that may be damaged.

Turning off lights when going to bed or leaving the house can also help with safety.

According to the fire department, almost a third of home Christmas tree fires are caused by electrical problems.

Christmas trees

Christmas tree fires are not common, however, they can be extremely serious.

Firefighters say a dry Christmas tree can go up in flames in under 45 seconds.

Kelly added a heat source too close to the tree causes more than one in every five of these fires.

"They're beautiful and they smell great, but just make sure that they're staying well-watered so they don't dry out and if you're using lights on them, that they are approved lighting."


Another hazard to keep in mind is fireplaces, whether it is natural gas, a wood-burning fireplace, or a fire appliance.

"We recommend that you keep everything that's combustible away from there, just like you normally would throughout the rest of the year," said Kelly.

This includes gift wrapping, boxes, or other types of packaging. It also isn't advised to hang Christmas stockings from the mantel when the fireplace is in use.

Keeping a screen in front of the fireplace will help protect your home against flying sparks.


Cooking on the stove is always a fire hazard. The risk increases during Christmas since many families are doing more work in the kitchen.

Kelly asks everyone to stay in the kitchen when cooking.

"This is something we tell people throughout the year, but Christmas time you're doing a lot more of that."

He added it's especially important to make sure your smoke detector is working, should anything happen.