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The Best Christmas Present - Prudence!

As Christmas approaches, safety and prudence are especially important. Celebratory family suppers can help warm the heart and lift the spirit. Everyone enjoys sitting around the fondue pot, eating, talking and laughing. Sometimes the burner goes out before the meal is finished, and someone gets up to add more oil. DON'T! The hot burner might explode. It can be cooled by plunging it into cold water before refilling it, but the easiest thing to do is simply to have a second burner available. The cost is minimal when you think of what might happen!

What could be more romantic and comfortable than a fire in the hearth? It's so nice to sit in front of a hot fire or around the wood stove with your partner or friends. But before you get out the bearskin rug and logs (not too many, and very dry), have you thought about having the chimney swept and inspected by a specialist?

Creosote deposits in the chimney and pipes are a serious fire risk. Is the fire screen properly installed? It only takes one spark to set fire. to the bearskin rug! And the Christmas stockings hung on the fireplace to catch the imagination of your children could just as easily catch fire!

For more atmosphere, you might decide to light a few candles and turn off the lights. Candles should never be left unsupervised. Think about what might happen if a child were to be attracted by the flame. Accidents happen so quickly. If you have a cat or a dog, a wagging tail can knock a candle onto an armchair or curtain, and you will soon find yourself in the hot seat! Never light candles near curtains or other flammable objects.

Did you know that certain types of candlesticks may not be safe?

Tempered glass candlesticks are heat-resistant, but most are made of ordinary glass or, worse, wood or plastic, and many are unstable. Unfortunately, there are no standards applicable to candles and candlesticks.

So what do you need to do to reduce the risks? First, never let a candle burn down to within 5 cm (2 in.) of the candlestick. Make sure the candlestick is stable, as well as wide and deep enough to catch the hot wax. And always snuff out the candles when you leave the room or go to bed. By the way, a small tabletop lamp produces the same effect with a fraction of the risk!

Christmas trees are wonderful things. Lights, decorations. everything to take you back to the Christmases of your childhood. If you really must have a real tree, make sure you keep the stem well watered. Add water every day. A real tree can catch fire quickly, simply through contact with its decorative lights, which give off heat. You should also check to make sure the lights you buy are low-intensity and designed specifically for indoor use. Never leave the tree lit up when you go out! And always turn off the lights before going to bed. After Christmas, take down the tree as soon as possible and leave it outside. In the end, why not set your mind at rest by getting an artificial tree? Real trees are best left outside!

Look carefully at the plug connectors for the tree. Electrical outlets are often overloaded when additional elements such as tree lights and decorations are connected at Christmas. The best method is to have a safe power bar placed so that you can see it. Get rid of old extension leads that can be hidden under the rug!

It's time for midnight mass. Have you put out the fire, snuffed out the candles and unplugged the tree lights? Well done! When you get back, it will only be your cheeks that are ablaze from the cold night air, and the celebrations can continue!

Merry Christmas!

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Last Updated: June 20, 2007

Gouvernement du Québec, 2017
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