Union Fire Co. No. 1

Manchester, PA - York County Station 23

Disaster Preparedness


Disaster Supplies Kit

Family Disaster Planning   |   Disaster Supplies Kit   |   Food Supplies
Storing Supplies   |   Water Storage   |   Your Evacuation Plan
Looking for a Home   |   Food and Water in an Emergency  |  Shelter-in-Place  |  Workplace Disaster Supplies Kit

PDF version of the Disaster Supplies Kit

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There are six basics you should stock for your home: water, food, first aid supplies, clothing and bedding, tools and emergency supplies, and special items. Keep the items that you would most likely need during an evacuation in an easy-to carry container--suggested items are marked with an asterisk(*). Possible containers include a large, covered trash container, a camping backpack, or a duffle bag.


  • Store water in plastic containers such as soft drink bottles. Avoid using containers that will decompose or break, such as milk cartons or glass bottles. A normally active person needs to drink at least two quarts of water each day. Hot environments and intense physical activity can double that amount. Children, nursing mothers, and ill people will need more.
  • Store one gallon of water per person per day.
  • Keep at least a three-day supply of water per person (two quarts for drinking, two quarts for each person in your household for food preparation/sanitation).*


  • Store at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food. Select foods that require no refrigeration, preparation or cooking, and little or no water. If you must heat food, pack a can of sterno. Select food items that are compact and lightweight. Include a selection of the following foods in your Disaster Supplies Kit:
  • Ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits, and vegetables
  • Canned juices
  • Staples (salt, sugar, pepper, spices, etc.)
  • High energy foods
  • Vitamins
  • Food for infants
  • Comfort/stress foods

First Aid Kit
Assemble a first aid kit for your home and one for each car.

  • (20) adhesive bandages, various sizes.
  • (1) 5" x 9" sterile dressing.
  • (1) conforming roller gauze bandage.
  • (2) triangular bandages.
  • (2) 3 x 3 sterile gauze pads.
  • (2) 4 x 4 sterile gauze pads.
  • (1) roll 3" cohesive bandage.
  • (2) germicidal hand wipes or waterless alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • (6) antiseptic wipes.
  • (2) pair large medical grade non-latex gloves.
  • Adhesive tape, 2" width.
  • Anti-bacterial ointment.
  • Cold pack.
  • Scissors (small, personal).
  • Tweezers.
  • CPR breathing barrier, such as a face shield.

Non-Prescription Drugs

  • Aspirin or non-aspirin pain reliever
  • Anti-diarrhea medication
  • Antacid (for stomach upset)
  • Syrup of Ipecac (use to induce vomiting if advised by the Poison Control Center)
  • Laxative
  • Activated charcoal (use if advised by the Poison Control Center)

Tools and Supplies

  • Mess kits, or paper cups, plates, and plastic utensils*
  • Emergency preparedness manual*
  • Battery-operated radio and extra batteries*
  • Flashlight and extra batteries*
  • Cash or traveler's checks, change*
  • Non-electric can opener, utility knife*
  • Fire extinguisher: small canister ABC type
  • Tube tent
  • Pliers
  • Tape
  • Compass
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Aluminum foil
  • Plastic storage containers
  • Signal flare
  • Paper, pencil
  • Needles, thread
  • Medicine dropper
  • Shut-off wrench, to turn off household gas and water
  • Whistle
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Map of the area (for locating shelters)


  • Toilet paper, towelettes*
  • Soap, liquid detergent*
  • Feminine supplies*
  • Personal hygiene items*
  • Plastic garbage bags, ties (for personal sanitation uses)
  • Plastic bucket with tight lid
  • Disinfectant
  • Household chlorine bleach

Clothing and Bedding
*Include at least one complete change of clothing and footwear per person.

  • Sturdy shoes or work boots*
  • Rain gear*
  • Blankets or sleeping bags*
  • Hat and gloves
  • Thermal underwear
  • Sunglasses

Special Items

  • Remember family members with special requirements, such as infants and elderly or disabled persons

For Baby*

  • Formula
  • Diapers
  • Bottles
  • Powdered milk
  • Medications

For Adults*

  • Heart and high blood pressure medication
  • Insulin
  • Prescription drugs
  • Denture needs
  • Contact lenses and supplies
  • Extra eye glasses


  • Games and books

Important Family Documents

  • Keep these records in a waterproof, portable container:
    • Will, insurance policies, contracts deeds, stocks and bonds
    • Passports, social security cards, immunization records
    • Bank account numbers
    • Credit card account numbers and companies
  • Inventory of valuable household goods, important telephone numbers
  • Family records (birth, marriage, death certificates)
  • Store your kit in a convenient place known to all family members. Keep a smaller version of the supplies kit in the trunk of your car.
  • Keep items in airtight plastic bags. Change your stored water supply every six months so it stays fresh. Replace your stored food every six months. Re-think your kit and family needs at least once a year. Replace batteries, update clothes, etc.
  • Ask your physician or pharmacist about storing prescription medications.

General Disaster Preparedness Materials Children & Disasters

  • "Disaster Preparedness Coloring Book" (ARC 2200, English, or ARC 2200S, Spanish) Children & Disasters ages 3-10.
  • "Adventures of the Disaster Dudes" (ARC 5024) video and Presenter's Guide for use by an adult with children in grades 4-6.

To get copies of American Red Cross Community Disaster Education materials, contact your local Red Cross chapter.

The text on this page is in the public domain. We request that attribution to this information be given as follows: From "Disaster Supplies Kit." developed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the American Red Cross.

Safety Tips

Carbon Monoxide
"The Silent Killer"

What is Carbon Monoxide?

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a deadly gas produced by burning any fuel. When inhaled, CO rapidly displaces oxygen in the victims blood, resulting in serious illness, even death. Since Carbon Monoxide is completely invisible, odorless and tasteless, many people have no idea that they are being poisoned until it is too late. For this reason, CO is often called "The Silent Killer." Airtight design in today's modern energy efficient homes can contribute to the problem by confining CO contaminated air within the home.

Carbon monoxide is a common byproduct of vehicle exhaust and appliances that run on flammable fuel, such as gas. Appliances should always be checked to ensure that they are in good working order and properly ventilated by a qualified professional if necessary.

Common CO sources in the home include:
     • Furnaces (Oil/Coal/Gas)
     • Fireplaces
     • Gas Dryers
     • Gas Refrigerators
     • Ranges/Stoves (Gas/Coal)
     • Space/Area Heaters (Gas/Coal)

When used properly these appliances are not dangerous, but if not properly vented, or not burning correctly, they can be deadly.

What are the symptoms/dangers?

The symptoms of CO poisoning often imitate those of common illnesses such as the flu. Some studies have indicated an estimated 23.6% of people who have flu or stress symptoms could actually be suffering from CO poisoning. Victims of low level CO poisoning often experience the following symptoms:
     • Mild headaches          • Drowsiness
     • Shortage of breath      • Dizzy spells
     • Nausea
At higher levels CO poisoning can cause:
     • Severe headaches      • Impaired vision/hearing
     • Mental confusion        • Loss of consciousness
     • Fatigue                      • Vomiting
     • Coma
Severe CO poisoning can cause:
     • Irregular heartbeat      • Coma
     • Amnesia                   • Death
     • Brain damage

What can I do to protect my family?

Medical studies have shown a high percentage of the population is particularly vulnerable to CO, especially low levels over a long period of time. This high risk group includes fetuses, children, the elderly, and those with heart and lung disorders. When inhaled, CO combines with hemoglobin in red blood cells to form substances that work to decrease oxygen levels and eventually asphyxiate the victim.

The awareness of the dangers of carbon monoxide combined with the use of CO detectors in the home will dramatically reduce the incidents of tragic deaths and frightening near misses that result from CO leaks.

It is recommended at least one CO detector be installed near the sleeping area of your home. Additional detectors are advised for the common living areas of the home or installed near (but not directly over) other emission sources such as heating appliances. However, detectors should not be located near a bathroom where humidity from a shower may affect it's operation. Also, fingernail polish and hair spray adversely affect CO sensors.

What do I do if my detector goes off?
If your CO detector does activate the first thing you should do is call 911. After calling 911 you should calmly evacuate family members and pets to outside the home or a neighbors house. DO NOT open windows and doors to air out the home, this will prevent firefighters from detecting the source. When the fire department arrives they will inspect the home with monitoring devices and then let fresh air in the house if it is necessary.

Never hesitate to call for help if your CO detector is activated, helping you in these situations is what firefighters spend so much time training for and we are always willing to help.



Fire Prevention Tips


Exit Drills In The Home


fire escape floor plan In 2000, approximately 4,000 Americans died in home fires ... tens of thousands more were injured. You can survive even a major fire in your home if you are alerted early enough about the fire and can get out of your home quickly ... AND STAY OUT!


  • Install and maintain working Smoke Detectors in your home
  • Make an escape plan and practice it

When a fire happens, there is no time for planning. Sit down with your family now and make a step-by-step plan for escaping from a fire in your home. Some people might think ... "Gee, that's silly. I've lived in this house for 10 years ... I know my way around. If there's a fire I can get out." Well, it doesn't work that way. When a fire happens, especially at night, you will be groggy ... you will be afraid ... you will be confused, even in your own home. You might not get out. If you don't have working Smoke Detectors, your chances of surviving a fire in your home, especially at night dramatically decrease. That's how many people are killed and injured.

Draw a floor plan of your home and mark 2 ways out of every room, especially the bedrooms. Go over these escape routes with every member of your household.

Agree on a meeting place outside your house where every member of the household will meet after escaping a fire and wait there for the fire department to arrive. This lets you count heads to make sure everyone is there, and to tell the fire department if anyone is missing.

Practice your escape plan at least a couple times a year. Hold a fire drill in your home. Appoint someone to be a monitor and have everyone take part in the drill. A fire drill is not a race, but practice to get out quickly ... remember to be careful.

Make your fire drill realistic ... pretend that some exits are blocked by fire and practice getting out different escape routes. Pretend that the lights are out and that some escape routes are getting smoke in them.

Be Prepared ... make sure everyone in the house can unlock all the doors and windows quickly, even in the dark. Windows or doors with security bars on them need to be equipped with quick-release devices and everyone in the house should know how to use them.

If you live in an apartment building use stairways to escape. Never use an elevator during a fire ... it can stop between floors or take you directly to a floor where a fire is burning (you know those little buttons ... the ones that light up when you touch them to call an elevator to where you are waiting ... they are activated by the heat coming from your finger ... the same kind of heat that a fire gives off and touches those little buttons on the floor where a fire is burning).

If you live in a two story house and you must escape from a second floor window, be sure there is a safe way to reach the ground. Make special arrangements for kids, older adults, and people with disabilities. People who might have trouble moving should have a telephone they can easily get to in their bedroom, and if possible, should sleep on the ground level floor.

Test doors before opening them ... while kneeling or crouching at the door, reach up as high as you can and with the back of your hand (it's more sensitive than the front of your hand to feel things such as heat), touch the door, the doorknob, and the space between the door and its frame. If the door is hot, use another way out. If the door is cool, open it slowly.

If you are trapped, close all doors between you and the fire. Stuff the cracks around the doors with clothes or anything to help keep the smoke out of the room you are in. Wait at a window and signal for help with a light colored cloth (use a pillow case, sheet, anything light colored) or a flashlight if you have one. If there is a phone in the room, call the fire department and tell them exactly where you are.


In case of fire, do not stop for anything. Do not try to rescue anything, including pets. After you get out, go directly to your meeting place and then call for the fire department from a neighbor's home (or use an alarm box if there is one nearby). Every member of your household should know how to call the fire department (911 in most, but not all areas).

Crawl low under smoke. Smoke contains deadly gases and heat rises. During a fire the cleaner air will be down near the floor. If you find smoke when using your primary exit (your 1st way out), then use your alternate escape plan (2nd way out). If you must get out of the house through smoke, get down and crawl on your hands and knees ... even down on your belly if you have to ... and keep your head close to the floor where the "good" air is so you can breathe easier (and its not as hot down there).

... AND STAY OUT ... once you are out of the house, DO NOT go back in for any reason. If people are trapped, the firefighters have the best chance of rescuing them. Firefighters have the training, experience, and the protective clothing and equipment needed to enter a burning building. Most of the time, those people that go back into a house that is burning do not come back out alive. Remember, we can replace toys and TV's and clothes ... but we can NEVER replace YOU!

 DON'T BE STUPID ... More than half of all fatal home fires happen at night while people are sleeping. One of the first body senses to go to sleep is that of smell. Working Smoke Detectors act like a big nose smelling the air all night for you. If a fire starts, the Smoke Detectors will sound an alarm alerting you before you can become trapped or overcome by smoke. With working Smoke Detectors, your risk of dying in a home fire is cut almost in half. Install Smoke Detectors outside of every bedroom and on every level of your home including the basement. Follow the installation instructions carefully and test all of the Smoke Detectors at least once every week. Change Smoke Detector batteries at least once every year ... a good idea is to change the batteries on a certain birthday each year.

If your Smoke Detectors are more than 10 years old, replace them.

"Have You Changed Your Smoke Detector Batteries This Year?"


Simple changes that could save your life


The IAFC and fire experts nationwide encourage people to change smoke alarm batteries at least annually. An easy way to remember to change your batteries iswhen you turn you clock back in the fall. Replace old batteries with fresh,high quality alkaline batteries, such as Energizer brand batteries, to keep yoursmoke alarm going year long.


After inserting a fresh battery in your smoke alarm, check to make sure the smoke alarm itself is working by pushing the safety test button.


Install at least one smoke alarm on every level of your home, including one in every bedroom and one outside each sleeping area.


Each month, clean your smoke alarm of dust and cobwebs to ensure their sensitivity.


To make sure your emergency flashlights work when you need them, use high quality alkaline batteries. Note: Keep a working flashlight near your bed, in the kitchen, basement and family room, and use it to signal for help in the event of a fire.


Install a fire extinguisher in or near your kitchen and know how to use it. Should you need to purchase one, the IAFC recommends a multi or all purpose fire extinguisher that is listed by an accredited testing laboratory such as Underwriters Laboratory.


Create at least two different escape routes and practice them with the entire family. Children are at double the risk of dying in a home fire because they often become scared and confused during fires. Make sure your children understand that a smoke alarm signals a home fire and that they recognize its alarm.

Fire Prevention Children Activities

Dear Parents,

We are learning about community helpers. Try doing the following
activities to help your child learn more about the firefighter and fire safety.


Make a plan for getting out of your home in case of fire and establish a safe place outside for everyone to meet. Practice following your plan with your child on a regular basis. At the end of your fire drill, have your child show how he or she would get help by pretending to run to a neighbor’s house and dialing 9-1-1.


For each child, use plain newsprint (or newspaper) to make a folded paper hat. Secure all loose edges with tape. Let the children use crayons or felt-tip markers to color their hats red. Fold back one corner of each hat and staple it in place. Then attach a yellow construction paper badge shape on which you have written a numeral of the child’s choice. Variation: For each child, trim a large piece of red construction paper into an oval shape. Then use the oval to make a head size version of the firefighter finger puppet hat.


Let each of the children make one or more firefighter finger puppet hats. For each hat, give a child an oval shape (about 2 inches long) cut from white constructionpaper. Let the child use a crayon to color both sides of the oval red. Cut out a finger hole, as indicated by the dotted line in the illustration, and fold as indicated by the solid line. Use a black felt tip marker to add a numeral of the child’s choice to the hat. Draw a face on the child’s finger as shown and top the finger with the child’s firefighter hat.

Encourage the children to manipulate their puppets while singing songs or telling stories.

Fire Prevention Badges

Cut badge shapes out of white index cards. Let the children decorate their badges with colored felt tip markers or crayons. Use a black tip marker to write one of these sayings on each child’s badge.

"(Child’s Name)" does not play with matches or lighters

"(Child’s Name)" knows how to stop, drop and roll.

"(Child’s Name)" knows how to dial 9-1-1


Help the children make fire truck scenes. For each scene, give a child a small house shape and a fire truck shape cut from construction paper. Let the child glue his or her shapes on a plastic foam food tray. When the glue has dried, have the child use felt tip markers to draw smoke and flames coming out of his house. Make a hose for the fire truck by wrapping a small piece of masking tape around one end of a pipe cleaner. Poke the other end through the fire truck shape and secure it with tape to the back of the tray. Let the child wiggle the hose and pretend to put out the fire in the house.


  1. Open container top
  2. Cut container top on three sides -- separate
  3. Cut half way into container
  4. Make two folds -- tape or glue down
  5. Cover the milk carton with paper and have the children design their own fire truck
  6. Illustration


Select a rectangular cardboard carton, like the one in the illustration, to use for making a fire engine. Cut the bottom out of the carton with a craft knife. Open out the two long top flaps. Cut square holes in them as shown to make the flaps into "ladders". Let the children paint the ladders white and the rest of the carton red. When the paint has dried, attach two small yellow paper plates for headlights and four large black paper plates for wheels. Cut holes for handles in the front and the back of the fire engine. Add a section of garden hose to hang out the back hole. Let the children take turns climbing inside the fire engine and driving it to imaginary fire scenes.


Each time you have a fire drill, talk with the children about how they should "STOP, DROP AND ROLL" if their clothes catch on fire. Clear a large area in the room or take the children outside to a grassy area. Have the children start walking or running in place. At a given signal, have them stop what they are doing, drop to the floor or ground and roll over and over until the pretend flames are out.


Fireplace Safety Tips

The fireplace in your home is a source of warmth and relaxation for your family and friends. Like any home appliance, it should be safe, properly maintained, and good for the environment-inside and out.

Think "Fire Prevention" Think "Clean"

  1. Clear the area around the fireplace and chimney
  2. Always use a fireplace screen
  3. Never overload the fireplace
  4. Keep a fire extinguisher on hand
  5. When building a fire, place logs at the rear
  6. Never leave fire unattended
  7. Keep wood stacked, covered, and out-of-doors
  8. Have your fireplace inspected annually

  1. Have your fireplace inspected and cleaned annually
  2. Choose the right fuel
  3. Use seasoned wood
  4. Burn smartly
  5. Minimize creosote buildup
  6. Make a fire that fits your fireplace
  7. Keep your fireplace in good working condition
  8. Read and follow the label when using firelogs
  9. If your fireplace is equipped with glass doors, leave them open while burning a firelog

Home Sprinklers

How Automatic Sprinklers Work

            Automatic Sprinklers Systems supply water to a network of individual sprinklers, each protecting an area below them.   These sprinklers open automatically in response to head and spray water on a fire to put it out or keep it from spreading.   Contrary to popular belief, only those sprinklers near the fire are activated and discharge water.

Sprinklers Save Lives

            National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) records covering most of this century show no instances of fires killing three or more people in a house, apartment, hotel or motel where a complete sprinkler system was installed and operating properly.

            The NFPA estimates that the risk of dying in a fire is cut by one-half to two-thirds in public buildings, stores, offices, auditoriums, factories, where sprinklers have been installed and in the growing number of private homes equipped with sprinkler systems.

            Because sprinkler systems react so early in the course of a fire, they reduce the heat and flames and the amount of smoke produced in a fire. Every life-threatening aspect of a fire is reduced by sprinklers.

Sprinklers Save Property

            NFPA studies show that automatic sprinklers systems also save thousands of dollars in property loss.

Sprinklers in the Home

            Automatic sprinkler systems have been common in factories, warehouses, hotels, and public buildings throughout the 20th century.   Since the early 1980s, sprinkler have become more popular to private homes, thanks to revised NFPA standards for installation that have made home sprinkler systems practical and more affordable.

            Four-fifths of all fire deaths occur in homes, and according to a study by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, 60 to 70 percent of those deaths could be prevented by adding sprinkler systems to houses and apartments.

            Since 1980, sprinklers have been available specifically for residential use.   These systems can be supplied with water through small-diameter piping from a household water supply in one- or two-family dwellings.

            Thanks to the use of modern materials and designs, the cost of residential sprinkler systems has come down.   Estimates suggest that installing such a system would add one to one-and-a-half percent to the cost of new housing.   They can also be installed in existing buildings.

            Homes with automatic sprinkler systems should also be equipped with smoke detectors.  All residents should be familiar with these devices and should have a plan for escape in the event of fire.

Dispelling Myths about Automatic Sprinklers

            Despite the proven, effectiveness of automatic sprinkler systems in slowing the spread of fire and reducing loss of life and property damage, many people resist the idea of home sprinkler systems because of widespread misconceptions about their operation.

MYTH:  The water damage from sprinklers is worse that a fire.
TRUTH: The truth is, a sprinkler will control a fire with a tiny fraction of the water used by the fire departments hoses, primarily because it acts so much earlier.   Automatic systems spray water only in the immediate area of the fire and can keep the fire from spreading, thus avoiding widespread water damage.
MYTH: Sprinklers go off accidentally, causing unnecessary water damage.
TRUTH: Accidental water damage caused by automatic sprinkler systems is relatively rare.   One study concluded that sprinkler accidents are generally less likely and less severe than mishaps involving standard home plumbing systems.
MYTH: Sprinklers are ugly
TRUTH: Sprinklers don't have to be unattractive.   Pipes can be hidden behind ceilings or walls, and modern sprinkler fixtures can be inconspicuous - mounted almost flush with the walls or ceilings.  Some sprinklers can even be concealed.



            Commercial or Residential automatic sprinkler systems should be installed by a qualified contractor who adheres to NFPA codes and standards and/or with local fire safety regulations.


Safety for Babysitters...


Children Safety Zone Home Page


When you babysit, you are entrusted with a child's life. Your primary responsibility is to care for the children's needs and most of all: keep them safe. You can prepare yourself for this important trust by following these guidelines.

  • Have the following information written down and readily accessible in the event of an emergency: Family name, children's names, house address with nearest cross street, instructions on how to contact the parents, phone number(s) of close relatives and neighbors, doctor's name and phone number along with a medical release. Include the phone number of the poison control center (800) 362-0101 in Arizona, 1-800-876-4766 in California. Please look up the phone number for your area. If you have a printer, a blank emergency information form is available.
  • In the event of an emergency: Call 911: identify yourself by name, tell them you are babysitting and state the problem. State the address of the house where you are and the nearest cross street. (Be sure to specify north, South, Avenue, Street, etc.) Give the phone number you are calling from.
  • Get written instructions about any medicines to be given to the children -- how much and what time.
  • Having visitors while babysitting is a bad policy. Always get approval if you would like to have a visitor.
  • Find out who you should call in case of an emergency. Be sure to get their phone number.
  • Be sure to meet the family dog.
  • Take a walk through the house and check for any special locks, windows that cannot be climbed out of, other telephones and anything all that would be a problem in case of an emergency.
  • During the walk through, check for hazards and things that the children can get into, such as matches, lighter fluid, electric cords, plastic bags, medication, or anything else that may be dangerous.
  • Look to see if there is a pool. Check for doggie doors and any unlocked doors or windows leading to that area.
  • Have a mental fire drill: that is, plan on more ways than one to get yourself and the children out of the house in case of fire.
  • Be sure to find out if you are to give the children anything to eat or drink before bed.
  • Make sure all the doors and windows are locked from the inside, and lock the front door after the parents leave.


  • If it is evening, turn on the porch/outside light.
  • If the children are asleep, check on them about every 15 minutes.
  • If the children are up, know their location at all times and never leave them alone too long.
  • If for any reason you must leave the house, TAKE THE CHILDREN WITH YOU!
  • DO NOT open the door for anyone unless you personally know the person.
  • If someone insists on coming in and you do not recognize them, or if you suspect a prowler, CALL THE POLICE AT 911.


  • Sound the alarm -- yell FIRE as loud as possible.
  • If possible, close the door to the area where the fire is.
  • DO NOT attempt to extinguish the fire, but rather attempt to save a life.
  • Get everyone out of the house, and do not go back in for any reason.
  • Keep all the children together, and go to the approved neighbors's home.
  • Call the Fire Department at 911 and leave the children with the neighbors, then go back outside to direct the fire fighters to the fire if you need to.

A well-prepared babysitter will be highly respected and greatly appreciated by parents. Any sitter who takes these recommendations to heart will be in great demand.

Have A Safe Holiday

Christmas Fire Safety

Natural Christmas Trees

Before buying a tree, test for freshness by tapping the base of the tree on the ground or pulling lightly on a limb. If many needles fall off or needles can be easily pulled off, the tree is too dry.

Keep your tree as fresh as possible by placing the stump of the tree in a bucket of water out of doors until you are ready to decorate. Before setting up the tree inside the house, trim two inches off the stem diagonally so it can absorb water. Mount the tree securely in a large, wide based reservoir stand and add water each day to ensure the tree is well watered.

Choose a suitable location for your tree, ensuring that it is well away from heating sources and clear of all exits.

Artificial Trees

Though fireproof, metal or aluminum trees are electrically conductive and cannot be decorated with any electrical product. The metal can cause a short and a fire, or simply become "hot" or deliver a nasty shock. Aluminum trees can be illuminated by a colorful spotlight placed a safe distance from the tree, as set out in the manufacturer's instructions.

Decorations and Presents

Christmas wrapping and decorations can be highly combustible, and should be kept away from heat sources suach as candles, lamps, heaters, fireplaces and wood-burning stoves. Gift wrap and boxes should be collected as soon as gifts are opened, and discarded with the garbage or recycled where appropriate.

Indoor Lights and Electrical Decorations

Use only those lights that have been tested and labeled by an approved testing laboratory.

Examine light strings, cords, plugs and receptacles before using. Discard any that have frayed cords, cracks in the lamp-holders, or loose connections.

Do not overload electrical circuits or extension cords, and follow instructions on cord labels regarding connecting light strings to extension cords.

Never place furniture or other objects over electrical cords and in particular, never run electrical cords under a rug. With a rug covering a cord, any damage the cord may sustain can go unnoticed.

Always unplug the light string before attempting to replace a bulb. Ensure the voltage and/or wattage marked on the light set is compatible with the replacement light. This is especially important with mini-lights as they come in different voltages.

Avoid using timers on indoor lights. Tree lights could turn on when no one is at home and create a potential fire hazard. Always turn Christmas lights off before leaving home or going to sleep.

Holiday Parties

Decorate with flame-retardant or non-combustible materials. Have large, fire-proof, non-tip ashtrays available for guests who smoke. Empty ashtrays regularly into a metal container and after the party, check inside and under upholstery and trash cans for misplaced cigarette butts that may be smoldering.

Outdoor Lighting

  • Use only those lights that have been tested and labeled by an approved testing laboratory and are marked for outdoor use.
  • Turn off the electricity to the supply outlet before working on outdoor wiring.
  • Keep electrical connections off the ground and clear of metal objects. Use insulated tape, not metal nails or tacks, to hold strings of outdoor lights in place. Be careful not to tape the cords either over, under, or along metal eaves troughs.
  • Run cords above ground, keeping them out of puddles and snow.
  • Tape all plug connections with plastic electrical tape to make them as watertight as possible. To prevent moisture from entering bulb sockets, bulbs should face the ground.
  • When using spotlights or floodlights to light your home or trees, ensure they are marked for outdoor use to withstand snow and rain. Indoor floodlights should never be used outdoors.


Never use lit candles as decorations on Christmas trees. Place candles in non-tip candle holders and ensure they are well away from Christmas tree or other combustible materials. Never leave lit candles unattended and ensure that they are always out of reach of the children.

Matches and lighters are tools not toys! Store them up high where children can't reach them.


Have your chimney inspected at least once a year and have it cleaned if necessary. Always use a fire screen, and burn only material appropriate for fireplaces. Burn only wood - never burn paper or pine boughs in a fireplace as the burning particles can float up your chimney and onto your roof or into your yard. Never use flammable liquids in a fireplace. Because ashes may rekindle, never store them in your home. Always remove ashes from your fireplace in a metal container.

Fire Safety in the Kitchen

Practice fire safety in the kitchen during the festive season. Don't leave cooking food unattended - oil or fat can ignite. If you are faced with a grease fire, remember, put a lid on it and turn the heat source off! Always turn pot handles to the back of the stove when cooking, to avoid pots being pulled or knocked off.

12 Tips for Christmas

  • Make sure your home is equipped with at least one working smoke detector on each level of your home. Have your family implement and practice an emergency home fire escape plan.
  • Ensure that your home heating appliances (furnace, gas fireplaces, wood burning appliances, chimneys) are all in good clean, working condition.
  • Carbon monoxide is a silent and deadly killer; know how to identify the symptoms and install a CO detector in your home.
  • With the joyous season upon us again, use sound judgment when installing your Christmas lights. Make sure you are using UL or CSA approved units only, do not overload circuits, and make sure all cords & outlets are in good condition.
  • When choosing your fresh Christmas tree, ensure that it does not have any loose needles or brown spots. Keep it as fresh as possible by re-cutting the base at an angle before placing it in the stand. Check the water level daily to ensure that it is well watered. Fresh trees are highly combustible especially when they are dry so keep it away from any open flame or heat sources. If you use an artificial tree, ensure that it has had a flame-retardant treatment.
  • Gift wrapping paper and Christmas gift boxes are highly combustible. Make sure all such materials are at least three (3) feet away from heat sources such as fireplaces, candles, portable heaters, lamps, and all wood burning appliances. Wrapping paper is highly flammable and burns at extremely high temperatures because of the additives in the paper. All wrapping papers and boxes should be discarded in the garbage or recycled. Do not burn in the fireplace or wood-heating appliance.
  • Use candles with extreme care; never leave lighted candles unattended especially with children around. Place candles in non-tip and noncombustible holders and ensure they are well away from the Christmas tree, Christmas decorations or other combustible materials.
  • When cooking for the holiday season, practice kitchen fire safety with your family. Do not leave cooking food unattended especially when cooking with oil or fat. If grease or oil ignites, remember to cover the container with a lid and turn the heat source off. You should have an ABC fire extinguisher available in your home.
  • Careless smoking remains a serious holiday fire hazard. Ensure that all cigarettes and matches are completely extinguished before discarding. Place all butts and matches in a metal container or dampen with water before discarding. Before going to sleep, check all furniture and garbage for smoldering embers.
  • Outdoor Christmas lights are exactly that, for outdoors use only. Do not use them in your residence, especially on your tree or near any combustible materials. These lights generate too much heat for indoor use.
  • Prior to going out or going to sleep, make sure that you shut off all indoor electrical decorations. This will minimize the potential for fire to occur.


Test Your Smoke Detectors

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