| Home Safety

With the holidays in full swing, most homes have now been adorned with sparkling ornaments, candles and other pieces that bring holiday cheer. While these decorations help bring warm and fuzzy feelings, did you know that your most prized holiday decoration could also be the most hazardous? It has been estimated that over 200 home fires are caused around this time of year by the beloved Christmas tree and that these fires are estimated to be ones that overall cause the most damage. When decorating your home for the holiday season, keep the following safety precautions in mind to help keep you and your family safe.

Keep it Fresh!

When it comes to choosing a Christmas tree, the easiest way to ensure it is in good health is to make sure that it was recently cut, the colour of the needles are green and there is minimal needle shedding when you move the branches. A healthy tree will be full of moisture and therefore reduce the chance of a spark turning into a fire. If you prefer an artificial tree during the holiday season, research the brand you are looking to buy, read reviews from other purchasers to know if they have experienced any challenges and ensure the tree that you are buying has a Canadian Standards Association (CSA) label on it or it is CSA listed. Keep in mind, having a fire resistant tree will not mean that it is fully immune to catching fire but that it will resist catching fire longer than one that isn’t.

Placement is Key

When deciding where to set up your tree, ensure that the tree is placed in an area that is at least three feet away from any heat sources including, but not limited to, air return or furnace vents, plug-in heaters, candles or any other heat sources that may pose the risk of a fire. Along with proximity to heat sources, it is also a good idea to ensure your tree is not blocking any high traffic areas or exits to minimize the chance of the tree getting bumped off-kilter and falling over when nobody is home.

Bring on the Decorations

Whether you are splurging on a new set of lights or using your old trusted string of bulbs, light safety should be your top priority when decorating the tree. Always ensure you are using light bulbs which have been manufactured for indoor use and not outdoor use. Lights which have been laboratory tested will help protect your home even more as each set of lights will have been tested according to industry fire standards. Before installing your lights make sure to properly inspect your lights for any damaged or frayed wires and discoloured bulbs. For extra precautions, never have real candles or an open flame near your tree and turn off the lights while you are not home or while you are sleeping.


Caring for your Christmas tree doesn’t stop once the lights have been strung and the ornaments scattered throughout. Just like a cut flower, a real Christmas tree requires daily watering to help keep the needles fresh and green. Proper tree care will extend the time you have with your tree before the needles inevitably drop. Keep this in mind when purchasing and setting up your tree – if you set it up too early, you could be faced with a browning or a bare tree by Christmas morning. After Christmas, check with your local community recycling programs for proper disposal measures. Even though your tree may still look pretty after the holidays – a dried up tree poses a fire risk and is better to be taken down.

Both a real and artificial tree can bring a welcoming and warm holiday atmosphere to your home, to help keep the tree as a wonderful and nostalgic memory for years to come, be safe this holiday season. We at the Ray Otten team wish you, your family and your friends a Happy Holidays!

If you would like more tips on keeping your home safe – or have questions about buying or selling, call us at (613) 288-2455, email us here, or book an appointment.

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