The Renfrew Fire Department is a composite fire department composed of both full-time and volunteer firefighters. The Renfrew Fire Department responds to an average of 200 calls per year. The department has two pumpers, including a combination pumper rescue truck. The department also has a 104-foot platform truck and a command/service vehicle. The Fire Prevention Division conducts fire inspections based on complaints and requests as well as proactive inspections. Public education initiatives are also an important part of their operations. The Renfrew Fire Department also assists their neighbouring fire departments through Mutual Aid.

Ready to respond 24 hours a day, Renfrew Firefighters dedicate their lives to saving others.

Safety and Prevention Tips

Apartment Safety

Within minutes, a small fire can spread and grow into a deadly fire. But with a few steps, you can protect yourself, your home and your belongings. First, closely inspect your home to eliminate potential hazards. Then, use these fire prevention tips and strategies to safeguard your home.

  • Protect your appliances and your home by using surge protectors.
  • Do not overload circuits or extension cords.
  • Check electrical cords for appliances. Cords that are frayed or cracked are potential fire hazards. Unplug the cord immediately and replace.
  • Do not run cords underneath rugs or between rooms.
  • Never place portable space heaters near flammable materials, such as drapery.
  • Turn off space heaters when leaving the room or going to bed.
  • Do not smoke in bed or leave burning cigarettes unattended.
  • Keep lighters and matches out of reach of children.
  • Do not leave candles or incense unattended, and place these items away from drapes, curtains or other flammable materials.
  • Do not store flammable materials, such as gasoline cans or a propane tank, in your apartment.

Kitchen Safety

  • Remember to never leave food unattended on a stove.
  • Keep potholders and towels away from the cooking area.
  • Avoid wearing loose-fitting sleeves when cooking.

Laundry Room Safety

  • If possible, have your dryer installed and serviced by a professional.
  • Avoid using a dryer without a lint filter.
  • Clean the lint filter before or after each load of laundry, and remove lint that has collected around the drum of your dryer.
  • Check to make sure the right plug and outlet are used, and make sure the machine is connected properly.
  • If you leave home or go to bed, turn the dryer off.

More information on Dryer Safety, click here.

Smoke Alarms

Make sure there is a properly functioning smoke alarm installed in your apartment. To be extra cautious, install a smoke alarm outside of each sleeping area. These alarms can be battery-operated or electrically hardwired in your home. For renters who have hearing problems, use alarms that include flashing strobe lights and vibration. Test smoke alarms once a month, and replace batteries once a year. An easy reminder is to change the batteries when the clocks spring forward.

More information on Smoke Alarms, click here.

Escape Route

Though your apartment may be prepared, accidents do occur. Plan an escape route, and if you have roommates, plan for a safe place to meet outside.Have at least two escape routes planned in case one is blocked.

Fire Prevention Tips to Avoid Setting Your Apartment on Fire

During winter messy mixtures of snow and ice paired with below freezing temperatures have made it necessary to crank up the heat at home. Staying warm and toasty during the frigid winter months is no doubt a basic human necessity. But as renters get resourceful with their techniques, the risk of disaster lurks.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, how we heat our living spaces is largely to blame for the many fires that take place each year. In 2012 in the United States there were reportedly 97,000 apartment structure fires resulting in 380 deaths. If there's any silver lining, it's that the number of fire-related apartment deaths has fallen by over 62 percent since 1980, likely due to increased awareness of the risks and fire prevention strategies.

Heating your small space is a must, but the right safety precautions have to be in place to avoid a potentially life-threatening catastrophe. Below, we outline some of the main causes of apartment fires and how you can prevent one from setting your humble abode ablaze.


Fire-related home incidents caused by heating mechanisms largely take place during the winter. As long as you're using extra measures to heat your apartment, you're at risk. When using a portable space heater, keep these tips in mind:

  • Anything that can melt or burn should be at least three feet away from the heater.
  • Never leave these small heaters on all day or night, even when you go to sleep.
  • Children and pets should not be allowed in the same area where portable space heaters are in use.
  • Follow your space heater's directions exactly if you are unsure of its proper operation.

More information on Heater Safety, click here.


Lots of cooking and baking takes place during the cold winter months when the desire for warm, home-cooked meals is at its peak. Don’t deny yourself a hearty feast, just be mindful of how you go about it.

  • Do not fall asleep while cooking. If you’re too tired, turn the meal off and finish it once you’re fully awake and alert.
  • Use a timer to remind you that food is cooking. If your microwave or oven doesn't have one, use your phone, tablet or traditional alarm clock.
  • Keep oven mitts and food packaging far away from the stove top area.


Although they’re not the most effective heating choice, candles are often used to set a soothing atmosphere. They also come in handy when power has been lost. But they're also known to start fires, particularly when left unattended.

  • Blow out candles before going to sleep and any time you leave your apartment.
  • Keep candles at least one foot away from any other objects.
  • Always use candle holders and make sure that the surface is flat and away from an edge where it may tip over.
  • Never use candles if an oxygen tank is in use.
  • Opt for flashlights instead of candles in case of a power outage.

More information on candle safety, click here.

Other considerations

In general, you should be prepared for a fire emergency at all times. It may not happen in your unit, but it could take place right next door.

  • Check with your apartment manager about whether or not your building has an escape plan. Knowing escape routes and alternatives ahead of time is a great thing.
  • Check smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors bi-annually. Most people do this at the beginning and end of Daylight Savings Time every fall and spring.
  • Always have a functioning fire extinguisher available in your apartment.

8 Tips to Prevent Kitchen Fires

Don’t let your next dinner party go up in smoke! Cooking fires are the most common cause of household fires, and you don't have to own a commercial-sized Viking range to feel the heat.

From grease spills to stray dishtowels, even a tiny cooktop in a studio apartment can set a blaze. Follow these eight tips to reduce your risks for an apartment kitchen fire.

1. Stay in the kitchen.

This may seem obvious, but, according to the National Fire Protection Association, unattended cooking is the number one cause of cooking fires. If you must leave a stove unattended, turn off the heat and move the pan to a cool burner.

2. Use a timer.

Check food regularly, whether you’re simmering, baking, boiling or roasting. Using a timer can help remind you to check on your dish.

3. Keep the stove top clear.

Keep dishtowels, oven mitts, paper towels—anything that can catch fire—away from your stovetop.

4. Dress for the occasion.

Wear close-fitting clothes, and tightly roll up sleeves, when you’re cooking. Loose clothing can come in contact with burners and catch fire.

5. Wipe up spills.

Cooking on a dirty stove, or in a dirty oven, is just inviting a potential fire. Grease buildup is flammable; clean your stove every time you cook and promptly wipe up any spills.

6. Don’t overheat your oils.

Overheated cooking oil can start to smoke and bubble up, which can cause it to spill out and ignite. 

7. Wait for grease to cool before disposing.

Toss hot grease into your trashcan and it could go up in flames! Wait for it to cool before disposing of it in the garbage. Or, better yet, pour it into an old food can before tossing it out.

8. Keep your smoke detector working.

A smoke detector is an important fire safety device and your first line of defense. Make sure your landlord has installed one. And make a mental note to change the batteries twice a year, when you change your clocks for daylight savings time.

Please note:  This information was accessed from APARTMENT GUIDE - Prevention Tips.  For more information on apartment safety please click here to visit the website.

Candle Safety

Candles can be a serious fire hazard if not used properly. Some candles also have design flaws that increase the risk of fire. Others may contain materials like lead that present health hazards, especially for children. There are a number of things you can do to reduce health and safety risks when you burn candles.


Every year in Canada, human error is responsible for starting a number of candle fires. Some of the common mistakes people make include:

  • leaving candles burning with no one in the room, or falling asleep or leaving the house with candles burning
  • burning candles close to things that can catch fire (like mattresses, bedding, curtains, cabinetry, upholstered furniture, decorations and clothing)
  • leaving burning candles within reach of children or pets

Canada-wide statistics for candle fires are not available. However, based on data from Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta and B.C., it is estimated that candles were responsible for an average of nearly 800 candle fires in Canada each year between 1999 and 2008, with a yearly average of 8 fire deaths, 115 fire injuries and $26.2 million in property damage. Candle fires are most common during  holidays and special occasions.

Health and Safety Risks Associated with Candles

The most obvious hazard when you burn candles is the risk of injury or death from fire. In most cases, candle fires are caused by the human errors noted above, but the design of candles can also increase the risk of fire and fire-related injuries.

One example is candles with multiple wicks. Health Canada tested this type of candle and found that with certain brands, lighting all of the wicks at once can produce a single high flame, or a number of large flames close together. The result is very intense heat that can ignite nearby materials, like curtains or clothing. These candles can also melt rapidly, leaving a large pool of hot wax that can cause burns.

The materials used in and on the candles can also present fire hazards. For example, some candles have decorations made of paper and ribbons, and some have outer layers made of tree bark, paper or other non-wax coating. These materials are very flammable and may increase the risk of fires and burns.

In some cases, fires are started because the candle wax gets so hot it catches fire itself.

Some candles may also have wicks with a metallic core that may contain lead. When these wicks burn, they produce lead vapours and dust, which can be harmful, especially for children and pregnant women. You can test candles you already own to see whether the wick contains lead by removing wax from the tip of the wick, separating the fibre strands from the wick to see if there is a metallic core, and rubbing this metallic core on a piece of white paper. If it leaves a grey mark on the paper, then the metallic core is probably lead.

Another example of a material that may be hazardous is the liquid fuel used in decorative oil lamps. These lamps are also called liquid paraffin candles. The fuel is usually a petroleum distillate, which is poisonous when swallowed. There have been at least eight incidents of Canadian children being poisoned by drinking this fuel directly from the lamps. In one case, the child died. 

"Relight" candles (also known as "trick" candles or "magic" candles) are also hazardous. These candles can reignite spontaneously after the flame has been put out. The sale, advertising or importing of relight candles has been prohibited in Canada since 1977.  

Minimizing Your Risk

The following steps will help minimize your risk when you burn candles in your home.

  • Follow the instructions printed on the label.
  • Trim candle wicks to a height of 5-7 mm (1/4 inch) before lighting the candle. Trim them again every 2-3 hours to prevent high flames.
  • Take extra care if you are burning candles with more than one wick. Avoid buying candles with multiple wicks that are close together.
  • Use well ventilated candle holders that are sturdy and will not tip over. Avoid wooden or plastic holders, as these can catch fire. Use caution with glass candle holders, which can break when they get too hot.
  • Never drop objects, like matches, into candles.
  • Keep burning candles away from materials that can catch fire (like curtains, decorations and clothing). If your clothes catch fire, "Stop, Drop and Roll."
  • Keep burning candles out of reach of children and pets.
  • Do not leave candles burning with no one in the room.
  • Extinguish all candles before you go to sleep.
  • Do not burn candles that have lead in the wicks. When you buy candles, ask the retailer if the wicks contain lead.
  • Avoid using decorative oil lamps with liquid fuel if you have children under the age of five in your household. If you choose to use this type of candle, keep the fuel locked away, out of sight and reach of children. If you think your child has swallowed liquid fuel, contact your nearest poison control centre immediately.
  • Teach your children to be careful around open flames. Make sure they understand that candles are not toys, or something they can eat or drink.  

Clothes Dryer Safety Tips

A leading cause of dryer fires in homes is the lack of dryer maintenance. Homeowners are reminded to take the following precautions:


  • Have your dryer installed and serviced by a professional.
  • If you are installing your own dryer, follow the manufacturer’s instructions before installing the dryer vent. Determine the straightest and most direct venting path to the outdoors to reduce the likelihood of lint accumulation in bends or elbows.
  • Use rigid or flexible metal ducting for venting to the outdoors. Plastic or metal foil ducts are more prone to kinking, sagging and crushing, which leads to lint build-up. Plastic ducting is also more prone to ignition and melting.
  • Clothes dryers located in closet-type spaces or totally enclosed rooms (e.g. in apartments) should have sufficient incoming air for proper operation (see manufacturer’s instructions).


  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding the safe use of the dryer.
  • Inspect and clean the lint screen after each load of laundry. The build-up of lint can lead to a fire. Regularly remove lint from metal ducts and exhaust vents. The inside of the dryer cabinet should be cleaned as per manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Regularly inspect the air exhaust to ensure it is not restricted and the outdoor vent flap opens when the dryer is operating.
  • Turn the dryer off if you leave home or when you go to bed.
  • Keep the area around the dryer clear of items that can burn.
  • Install a carbon monoxide alarm in your home if using a natural gas or propane dryer.
  • Ensure there are working smoke alarms on every storey of the home and outside all sleeping areas.

Do Not:

  • Overload the dryer.
  • Exhaust the dryer indoors.
  • Dry materials or fabrics that have been saturated by chemicals, oils or gasoline (e.g. mops and towels and cloths saturated with wax, flammable solvents or vegetable oils). Even after washing, these substances can start a fire during the drying cycle.
  • Dry natural or synthetic rubber, rubber-coated sneakers, galoshes, foam pillows or any garment with foam padding (e.g. blouses with shoulder pads, bras, bicycle shorts)
  • Dry garments that have been cleaned with dry-cleaning fluid.
  • Use a dryer without a lint filter, or with a lint filter that is loose, damaged or clogged.

Carbon Monoxide Safety

Carbon Monoxide Alarm Safety

Quick Facts

  • More than 50 people die each year from carbon monoxide poisoning in Canada, including 11 on average in Ontario.
  • Bill 77, an Act to Proclaim Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week and to amend the Fire Protection and Prevention Act, 1997, received royal assent in December 2013.
  • The first Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week will take place November 1-8, 2014.
  • The Ontario Building Code requires the installation of carbon monoxide alarms in homes and other residential buildings built after 2001.

Why Should I Care About Carbon Monoxide?

It Kills. 

Many Canadians die every year from carbon monoxide poisoning in their own homes, most of them while sleeping.

It Injures.

Hundreds of Canadians are hospitalized every year from carbon monoxide poisoning, many of whom are permanently disabled.  Everyone is at Risk - 88% of all homes have something that poses a carbon monoxide threat.

Carbon Monoxide is a colourless, odourless, tasteless, toxic gas that enters the body through the lungs during the normal breathing process.  It replaces oxygen in the blood and prevents the flow of oxygen to the heart, brain and other vital organs.

Where does Carbon Monoxide Come From?

Produced when carbon-based fuels are incompletely burned such as:

  • Wood
  • Propane
  • Natural Gas
  • Heating Oil
  • Coal
  • Kerosene
  • Charcoal
  • Gasoline

What Are the Main Sources of Carbon Monoxide in my Home?

Wood burning/gas stoves, gas refrigerators, gasoline engines, kerosene heaters and others.

How Can I Tell if There is a Carbon Monoxide Leak in my Home?

  • Headache, nausea, burning eyes, fainting, confusion, drowsiness.
  • Often mistaken for common ailments like the flu
  • Symptoms improve when away from the home for a period of time
  • Symptoms experienced by more than one member of the household.
  • Continued exposure to higher levels may result in unconscious, brain damage and death.
  • The elderly, children and people with heart or respiratory conditions may be particularly sensitive to carbon monoxide.


  • Air feels stale/stuffy
  • Excessive moisture on windows or walls
  • Sharp penetrating odour or smell of gas when furnace or other fuel burning appliance turns on.
  • Burning and pilot light flames are yellow/orange, not blue
  • Pilot light on the furnace or water heater goes out
  • Chalky white powder or soot build up occurs around exhaust vent or chimney.

How Can I protect Myself and my Family?

  • Regularly maintained appliances that are properly ventilated should not produce hazardous levels of carbon monoxide
  • Have a qualified service professional inspect your fuel burning appliance(s) at least once per year.
  • Have you chimney inspected and cleaned every year by a W.E.T.T. certified professional.
  • Be sure your carbon monoxide alarm has been certified to the Canadian Standard Association (CSA) CAN/CGA 6.19 standard or the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) 2034 standard.
  • Install a carbon monoxide alarm in or near the sleeping area(s) of the home.
  • Install the carbon monoxide alarms(s) in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.

What Should I Do if my Carbon Monoxide Alarm Starts Beeping?


To Keep Safe Please Remember:

You have a responsibility to know about the dangers of carbon monoxide. Your knowledge and actions may save lives.
A carbon monoxide alarm is a good second line of defense. It is not a substitute for the proper care and maintenance of your fuel burning appliance(s).  Take the time to learn about the use of carbon monoxide alarms in your home to ensure you are using the equipment properly and effectively.

Where To Install A Carbon Monoxide Alarm

Since carbon monoxide moves freely in the air, the suggested location is in or as near as possible to sleeping areas of the home. The human body is most vulnerable to the effects of carbon monoxide during sleeping hours. To work properly the unit must not be blocked by furniture or draperies. Carbon Monoxide is virtually the same weight as air and therefore the alarm protects you in a high or low location.

For maximum protection, a carbon monoxide alarm should be located outside primary sleeping areas, in sleeping areas and in each level of your home.

Where NOT to Install a CO Alarm

Some locations may interfere with the proper operation of the alarm and may cause false alarms or trouble signals.
CO alarms should not be installed in the following locations:

  • Where the temperature may drop below 4.4o C (40oF) or exceed 37.8oC (100oF).
  • Near paint thinner fumes or household cleaning products. Ensure proper ventilation when using these types of chemicals.
  • Within 1.5m (5 feet) of any cooking or open flame appliances such as furnaces, stoves and fireplaces.
  • In exhaust streams from gas engines, vents, flues or chimneys.
  • Do not place in close proximity to an automobile exhaust pipe; this will damage the alarm.


Test your carbon monoxide alarm regularly to make sure it is operating properly. The owner’s manual should tell you how to test your alarm. Remember to check the manual for information on when to buy a new carbon monoxide alarm.

If you have any questions regarding CO safety, please contact the Renfrew Fire Department

You can also click on the link below for more invaluable information.

Fire Prevention

Fire prevention activities undertaken by the department include the following:

  • Inspections of buildings to ensure that construction meet the requirements of the Ontario Fire Code (wall separations, ingress and egress, fire alarms, sprinkler systems, etc.)
  • Inspections and fire drills for locations with vulnerable persons
  • Fire scene investigations
  • School Safety Programs

The fire department encourages any community groups to contact the office to learn more about fire prevention. To arrange a presentation, please email or call the Fire Department.

Fire Prevention Week

Fire Prevention Week falls on the second week in October. The annual theme changes yearly.

National Fire Protection Association website for details.


Halloween Fire Safety Tips

  • When choosing a costume, stay away from long trailing fabric.  If your child is wearing a mask, make sure the eye holes are large enough so they can see out.
  • Provide children with flash lights to cary for lighting or glow sticks as part of their costume.
  • Keep all decorations away from open flames and other heat sources like bubls and heaters.  Dried flowers, cornstalks and crepe paper catch fire easily.
  • Use a batter-operated candle or glow stick in jack-o-lanterns. If you use a real candle, use extreme caution.  Make sure children are watched at all times when candles are lit and your pets too.  When lighting candles inside a jack-o-lantern, use long, fireplace-style matches or a utility lighter.  Be sure to plcae lit pumpkins well away from anything that can burn and far enough out of the way of trick-or-treaters, doorsteps, walkways and yards.
  • Remember to keep exits clear of decorations, so nothing blocks escape routes.
  • Make sure all smoke alarms in the home are working.
  • Tell children to stay away from open flames, including jack-o-lanterns with candles in them.  Be sure they know how to stop, drop and roll if their clothing catches fire. (Practice STOP, DROP and ROLL - stopping immediately, dropping to the ground, covering their face with hands, and rolling over and over to put the flames out!)
  • If you child is going to a friend's house for a Halloween party or any party, have them look for ways out of the home and plan how they would get out in an emergency.

Secondary Heating Sources Safety

Secondary heating sources like fireplaces, wood burning stoves, space heaters, or electric blankets can produce comfortable heat for smaller, more targeted areas of your home. They can be especially useful for heating rooms that tend to be cooler than the rest of your home, or for enduring the occasional chilly night. These heat sources also pose their own unique risks, and it's important to take safety precautions when using them.


While it can't heat a whole home, the fireplace can provide a comfortable and aesthetically pleasing space for a few people, even if the thermostat is turned down to a cool temperature.

Fireplaces and chimneys require regular maintenance, so conducting an annual chimney inspection and cleaning is crucial. A careful inspection can catch cracks that might leak dangerous gases into your home, and a thorough cleaning removes the buildup of creosote, a residue that can catch fire if ignited by a spark.

Other tips include:

  • Always keep the fireplace area clear of flammable materials and liquids and use a fireplace screen to prevent sparks and embers from escaping into the room.
  • Use only natural wood or artificial fireplace logs. Never burn charcoal, newspapers or trash in your fireplace.
  • Open the damper before building a fire and ensure the fire is completely extinguished before closing it again.
  • Never leave a fire unattended.

Wood-Burning Stove

Though not as popular in the modern era as fireplaces, wood-burning stoves have their own aesthetic appeal and are still used as efficient heat sources in many homes and cabins. Like fireplaces, these stoves must be connected to chimneys, which require annual inspection and cleaning.

Consider the following:

  • Make sure the wood-burning stove is installed on a fire-resistant base and is clear on all sides from any flammable materials.
  • Only burn dry natural wood or fuel designed specifically for wood stoves, such as wooden pellets.
  • Don't let fires burn unattended.

Space Heaters

When it comes to safety, space heaters have come a long way in recent years. Some older models increased the risk of house fires, particularly models operated with liquid fuel. Today's space heaters are mostly electric and often have built-in safety features that turn the heaters off if they tip over, overheat, or have been left turned on for too long.


  • Always operate heaters on a flat surface away from flammable materials and walkways.
  • Plug heaters directly into wall outlets. Do not use extension cords or power strips.
  • Dispose of a space heater if the cord or plug becomes damaged.
  • Don't operate heaters unattended or overnight.

Electric Blankets

As economical as they are cozy, electric blankets can provide comfort all night even with the heat down low.

Be sure to:

  • Examine blankets before each use for exposed or damaged wires and dispose of blankets that have any damage.
  • Avoid using blankets more than ten years old, even if they appear to still be in good shape.
  • Consider using an electric blanket to pre-heat a bed and then removing it before going to sleep to minimize fire risk.

Smoke Alarms

Maintain your smoke alarms

  • Only working  smoke alarms can save your life! Smoke alarms require some simple maintenance to keep them in good working order. These tips will help to make sure your alarms perform as intended-when you need them the most:

Test smoke alarms monthly

  • Test your smoke alarms every month by using the test button on the alarm. When the test button is pressed, the alarm should sound.
  • If battery-operated smoke alarms fail to sound when tested, make sure that the battery is installed correctly, or install a new battery.
  • If electrically-connected smoke alarms fail to sound when tested, make sure the power is turned on to the unit.
  • If the alarm still fails to sound, replace the smoke alarm with a new one.

Change the batteries every year

  • Install a new battery at least once a year, or as recommended by the manufacturer. Install a new battery if the low-battery warning sounds, or if the alarm fails to sound when tested.

Beware of chirping smoke alarms

  • All battery-operated smoke alarms emit a warning sound, usually an intermittent “chirp”, when the battery power is low. When you hear this sound, it’s time to replace the battery. The smoke alarm will continue to work even though it is chirping, so do not remove the battery until you replace it with a new one. The warning signal itself will eventually stop after a few days, so smoke alarms should be tested when you return from an extended absence in case the battery has died.

Vacuum alarms annually

  • Dust can affect your smoke alarms. Battery-powered smoke alarms should be cleaned by opening the cover of the alarm and gently vacuuming the inside with a soft bristle brush.
  • For electrically-connected smoke alarms, first shut off the power to the unit, and then gently vacuum the outside vents of the alarm only. Turn the power back on and test the alarm.

Replace older smoke alarms

  • All smoke alarms wear out. The Ontario Fire Code requires you to  replace smoke alarms according to manufacturers’ recommendations. Newer alarms will have the end of service, or replace by, date on the device.

Winter Holiday Safety Tips

Holidays can be busy and joyous times but holiday decorations and new toys can bring risks along with festive cheer. Stay safe by knowing how to manage the health and safety hazards of holiday items you bring into your home. Minimize your risks by following safety tips below.


  • When buying a real tree, make sure it is fresh (you tell if the needles are hard to pull off). Water the tree daily once you bring it indoors for decorating.
  • Place the tree away from high traffic areas and doorways. Make sure the tree is well-secured in a sturdy stand.
  • Place the tree away from heating vents, radiators, stoves, fireplaces and burning candles.
  • Keep metal, sharp or breakable tree ornaments with small removable parts away from young children.
  • Dispose of the tree as soon as the holidays are over, or as soon as the needles start to fall. Dispose of it according to local regulations - most municipalities have tree recycling programs.


  • Use lights that have the mark of an accredited certification agency such as CSA, cUL or cETL. Check the Healthy Canadians Recalls and Safety Alerts Database before buying or using lights to find out about the latest recalls.
  • Choose the right light for the job. Light strings and other decorations are rated for indoor and outdoor use. Ensure that indoor lights and decorations are only used inside. Read the package instructions and do exceed the recommended wattage.
  • Check all light bulbs before you put them up. Replace broken or burned-out bulbs with those recommended by the manufacturer.
  • Check the light strings and extension cords you use, discarding any that are frayed or have exposed wires, loose connections or broken light sockets. Never run electrical cords through doorways or under carpets.
  • Never run electrical cords through or across doorways where they may be pinched or trip someone, or under carpets where they can be damaged or overheat.
  • Avoid plugging too many lights and decorations into an outlet. Overloaded circuits can overheat and start a fire.
  • Use Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI) outlets when plugging in outdoors.
  • Turn off all holiday lights before you go to bed or leave your home.
  • Keep 'bubble lights' away from children - they contain a hazardous chemical that may cause  irritation or burns if the bulb breaks.
  • Choose tinsel, artificial icicles and other trimmings made of plastic or non-leaded metals. Don't let children put decorations in their mouths, as some may be harmful to their health.


New toys and gifts are holiday highlights for many children. Minimize potential hazards from new gifts by buying sturdy, well-made toys that are appropriate for your child's age. Toys for older children may contain small parts or other hazards that may make them unsafe for young children.

Toys can be recalled for health or safety reasons.  Check the Healthy Canadians Recalls and Safety Alerts Database for more information about the latest recalls.


  • Read and follow the age labels, warnings, safety messages and other instructions that come with a toy. Check for contact information of the manufacturer or importer if you have any concerns.
  • Dispose immediately all toy packaging like plastic bags, plastic wrap, foam, staples, ties and protective film. A child can suffocate or choke on these items.
  • Ensure batteries are not accessible to children and are properly installed by an adult.
  • Supervise children at play and teach them to use their new toys safely.

For more information, Health Canada has published Is Your Child Safe? Play Time. This guide provides information for parents and caregivers on how to create a safer play experience inside and outside the home. It also provides tips for making safer choices when selecting and using toys and other children's products.