The Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service (WFPS) wants to share some helpful tips to help minimize the risk of a fire in your home over the holidays.

Marc Savard from the WFPS stresses caution during the holiday season because nobody wants to lose their house.

"We don't like seeing people's Christmas ruined by simple things that can be avoided," Savard said.

Here are some tips the WFPS has regarding your Christmas decorations.

Lights and Decorations

We love decorating the tree, the house, and even people with festive lights. But some can be dangerous if you don't use them carefully.

  • Only use Canadian Standards Association (CSA) approved holiday lights
  • Upgrade your lights often
  • Make sure nothing is cracked, broken or exposed before using
  • Don't link more than three light strands together unless directions say it's safe to do so
  • Do not use lights on metallic trees (do you use a metallic tree? Let us know!)
  • Turn off Christmas lights (inside and out) when you go to sleep or leave the house

Christmas Trees

Does the smell of a pine tree signify Christmas for you? It does for many people, but if you don't take proper precautions, a natural Christmas tree can easily catch fire and fill a room with flames and deadly gases.

  • Get a fresh tree (meaning the needles are green and hard to pull from its branches). The trunk should be sticky.
  • Keep your tree away from all heat sources such as fireplaces and heat vents.
  • Keep cigarettes and candles far away from the tree
  • Do not leave the tree up for longer than two weeks and keep the stand filled with water at all times (sorry to all those post-Remembrance Day decorators)
  • Discard a dry tree promptly


Have you ever sung Silent Night in a dark church with just candles? There is nothing like it. However, several precautions should be taken with candles.

  • Never leave lit candles unattended
  • Avoid putting lit candles in drafty areas to prevent uneven burning and wax dripping (plus, it might blow out, and you don't want that)
  • Extinguish a candle when it burns to within two inches of its base
  • Keep candles away from flammable materials, like Christmas trees
  • Store candles in a cool, dark place
  • Keep wicks trimmed to half an inch and remove excess wax before storage
  • PRO TIP: Refrigerating candles before burning makes them burn more slowly and evenly. Wrap candles in foil or plastic to prevent the wick from absorbing moisture when you do that.

And one of the most important things you can do this Christmas season is to make sure you have a smoke alarm and a carbon monoxide detector installed in your home.