Toronto Fire Services, First Alert donate hundreds of smoke alarms to Community Centre 55’s Share A Christmas campaign

Toronto Fire Services and First Alert were at Community Centre 55 earlier this week to donate 500 smoke alarms to the Share A Christmas hamper campaign. Photo; Submitted.

Toronto Fire Services teamed up with First Alert earlier this week to present Community Centre 55’s Share A Christmas campaign with a donation of 500 smoke alarms.

The smoke alarms will be distributed to local families in need this weekend in holiday hampers delivered by Community Centre 55 volunteers.

“Smoke alarms are every family’s most important line of defence against fire tragedies,” said Chief Matthew Pegg of Toronto Fire Services in a release announcing the donation of the smoke alarms which took place on Dec. 18 at Community Centre 55 on Main Street.

“When coupled with a practised home escape plan, smoke alarms can ensure that the holiday season is remembered for the right reasons.”

The donation was made possible by First Alert, which has been helping communities and educating people about fire safety for more than 60 years.

The Share A Christmas campaign by Community Centre 55 has been running for 37 years, helping families in the area who are in need with deliveries of hampers containing food, gifts and other essentials over the holidays.

Community Centre 55’s executive director Debbie Visconti thanked Toronto Fire Services and First Alert for the “much needed” donation of the smoke alarms.

As Chief Pegg said, smoke alarms and practised escape plans are key ways families can protect their families from what could be the tragic consequences of a fire.

Following fire safety guidelines, especially during the holidays when lights, candles, fireplaces, and flammable trees, wrapping paper and more are often in abundance in many residences, is also critical.

Health Canada wants to remind all Canadians of the following holiday lights safety tips:

  • Use lights that have the mark of an accredited certification agency such as CSA, cUL, or cETL.
  • Light strings and other lighted decorations like wreaths and reindeer are rated as either indoor or outdoor use. Ensure that all indoor decorations are only use inside. Read the instructions on the package and do not exceed recommended wattage.
  • Check all light bulbs, strings, and cords. Replace broken or burned out bulbs, and discard frayed light strings and cords, or ones with exposed wires or loose connections.
  • Turn off all holiday lights, lighted decorations, pre-lit trees, and other decorations before going to bed or leaving your home.
  • Check the Healthy Canadians Recalls and Safety Alerts Database before buying or using seasonal lights, as some may have been recalled.

Health Canada also provides the following safety tips for holiday trees and decorations:

  • When buying a real tree make sure it’s fresh and watered daily.
  • Keep trees away from high traffic areas, heating vents, radiators, stoves, fireplaces, and burning candles.
  • Discard the tree when it begins to turn brown or shows signs of drying out.
  • Choose tinsel, ornaments, artificial icicles and other trimmings made of plastic or non-leaded materials.
  • Don’t let children put decorations in their mouths as some may be easily swallowed and harmful to their health.
  • Keep metal, sharp, or breakable tree ornaments and ones with small removable parts or button batteries away from young children.

Health Canada also has the following safety tips for toys and gifts:

  • Toys can be recalled for health and safety reasons. Check the Healthy Canadians Recalls and Safety Alerts Database for more information about the latest recalls.
  • Buy age-appropriate toys. Toys for older children often contain small parts or other hazards that may make them unsafe for younger children.
  • Read and follow the labels, warnings, and safety messages and other instructions that come with the toy.
  • Purchase sturdy, well-made toys that come with contact information for the manufacturer or importer.
  • Ensure that batteries are properly installed by an adult and not accessible to children.
  • Make sure that button batteries (often found in musical greeting card, small electronics, children’s books, and flashing jewellery) stay in the products. Look for products with battery compartments that prevent easy access. Button batteries are small enough to be swallowed and can cause serious internal injuries in as little as two hours.
  • Supervise children at play and teach them to use their new toy safely.
  • Promptly remove and discard all toy packaging like plastic bags, foam, staples, ties, and protective film. A child can suffocate or choke on some of these items.

Health Canada offers the following candle safety tips:

  • ­Keep burning candles away from flammable materials like curtains, decorations, Christmas trees and clothing.
  • Do not leave candles burning with no one in the room and extinguish all candles before you go to bed or leave the house.
  • Keep burning candles out of reach of children and pets.
  • Trim candle wicks to a height of 5-7 mm or 1/4 inch before lighting the candle, and trim them again every 2-3 hours to prevent high flames.
  • 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.

If over the holidays you do encounter a fire emergency, the first thing to do is to ensure your own safety and the safety of others in the area, and then call 9-1-1.

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