The holiday season is the perfect time of year for decorating and cooking. Garlands, trees and candles adorn our homes, while the delicious smell of food wafts into every room. In this festive season, we'd like to remind you of the best ways to celebrate in peace.

Montréal’s fire department (Service de sécurité incendie de Montréal) would like to remind you of the following safety recommendations:

Christmas tree (natural or artificial)

  • Set up your Christmas tree away from heat sources (baseboards, space heaters, fireplace, etc.)
  • Turn off the Christmas lights when you go to sleep or leave your home.
  • Cut approximately 1 cm off the base of your Christmas tree before placing it in a water-filled stand.  
  • Make sure there is always water in the stand of your natural tree, in order to prevent it from drying out. 
  • Store your natural tree outside, in the shade after the Holiday period, in order to prevent it from drying out until it can be collected by the city. 
  • Keep the dry tree away from buildings, balconies, exits, flammable materials.

Candles and lights

  • Turn off Christmas lights and decorations indoors and outside before you go to bed or when you leave your home. 
  • Keep candles out of the reach of children or pets, and place them where they are not at risk of being tipped over.  
  • Contain flames using a fireproof container. l
  • Turn off all candles when you go to bed or leave your home.
  • Use a certified multiple outlet extension cord with power surge protection in order to plug several devices or light garlands.  
  • Opt for battery-operated candles and LED lights. 
  • Keep all decorations away from open flames and other heat sources such as light bulbs, light garlands, space heaters, etc. 
  • Never place any open-flame candles in a Christmas tree.

Fire escapes

  • Ensure that all fire escapes, including balconies and windows are visible, accessible and that the snow has been cleared. 
  • When choosing where to place your tree, make sure it does not obstruct any means of egress. 
  • Always keep your entrances clear (free of any cumbersome items near your doors.)


  • Use a timer so as not to forget a meal cooking on your stovetop or in a cooking appliance. 
  • Always keep an eye on your stove or cooking appliance when preparing a meal. 
  • Invite your guests to join you in the kitchen so as to avoid leaving your cooking appliances unattended.
  • Make sure to turn off your stove or cooking appliance when you leave your home. 
  • Make sure to keep a functioning fire extinguisher on hand.

Use of technological devices (lithium-ion batteries):

A growing number of appliances used daily are operated by lithium-ion batteries. Few people realize that such devices as laptop computers, smartphones, tablets, scooters or electric bikes can start fires. 

Here are some tips regarding these devices: 

  • Make sure that the battery is not damaged. When replacing batteries, store the old ones away from heat sources, in fireproof containers. Make sure to recycle hazardous waste at ecocentres.
  • Use chargers that comply with Canadian electrical standards and are certified for use with the type of device you are charging. 
  • Protect batteries from extended exposure to heat sources and from contact with water.
  • Remain present while a device is charging in your home and observe the maximum charging times as directed. 
  • Read the manufacturer’s instructions and comply with them. 

Smoker’s items

  • Provide ashtrays outdoors for your guests. You may improvise one using a tin can containing humid sand and place it on a fireproof surface, shielded from the wind. 
  • Remember to empty the ashtrays regularly in order to avoid the accumulation of cigarette butts.

Safe habits will keep your family risk-free, because remember, fires are no gift! 

Montréal’s fire department (SIM) wishes you a happy and safe holiday season!