Keep the following prevention tips in mind for safe decorating during the festive season.

Christmas tree

Choose an artificial tree because it is less likely to catch fire than a natural tree.

If you choose a natural tree

  • Select a freshly cut tree, whose needles do not shed easily.
  • Cut the trunk at an angle and place it in a container of water. Water it on a daily basis.
  • Install the tree more than 1 m away from all heat sources (electric baseboard, heater, fireplace, etc.).
  • Unplug the Christmas lights when the tree begins to dry out.
  • Check with your municipality before disposing of your tree; many have tree collections that turn trees into compost.

Decorative lights

Choose lights that are certified by a recognized organization such as the CSA or ULC.

Choose low-heat-emitting bulbs such as LED bulbs.

Examine your lights before installing them and discard any that are defective, desiccated, or cracked.

Make sure your replacement bulbs have the same voltage as the old ones.

Avoid putting indoor-use decorative lights outdoors, or vice versa.

Plug any item used outdoors into a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlet.

Never overload the electrical system.

Use a timer or always unplug your decorative lights when you leave home or go to bed.

After the festive season, bring in outdoor lights to prevent damage from the weather and sun. Decorative lights are not designed for long-term use.

Extension cord

If you must use extension cords, choose models approved by a recognized organization such as the CSA or ULC.

Avoid cords that are too long and would need to be coiled, as the cable may overheat and cause arcing.

If you must use an extension cord for your outdoor decorations, make sure it is designed for outdoor use.

Do not overload outlets and extension cords. Use a power strip instead.

Do not hide your extension cords under a rug or carpet. The weight of people walking on them and the friction they cause can damage the cord and increase the risk of fire.

Do not leave an extension cord in a doorway. The insulation of the cord could be damaged if the door closes on it.

Use only one extension cord at a time. Do not connect extension cords end to end.


Improper use of electrical devices and lack of maintenance of your electrical installations can cause a fire. Avoid risks by following these electrical prevention tips.