Holiday Safety

The holidays are a great time to get together with family and friends. However, holiday traditions can involve some safety risks that may not be found at other times of the year. Health Canada reminds Canadians to follow these tips for a safe and happy holiday season.

Holiday lights and lighted decorations

  • Check the Healthy Canadians Recalls and Safety Alerts Database before buying or using seasonal lights, as some may have been recalled.
  • Use lights that have the mark of an accredited certification agency, such as CSA, cUL or cETL.
  • Light strings and other lighted decorations, such as wreaths and reindeer, are rated for either indoor or outdoor use. Ensure that indoor lights and decorations are used only inside. Read the instructions on the package and do not exceed the recommended wattage.
  • Check all light bulbs, light strings and cords. Replace broken or burned-out bulbs, and discard any light strings or cords that are frayed, or that have exposed wires or loose connections.
  • For pre-lit trees and decorations, ensure that wires are securely fastened to the product and are not pinched if the product unfolds or moves during use.
  • Always turn off all holiday lights, lighted decorations, pre-lit trees and decorations before you go to bed or leave your home.

Holiday trees and decorations

  • When buying a real tree, make sure it’s fresh and water it daily.
  • Keep trees away from heating vents, radiators, stoves, fireplaces and burning candles.
  • Choose tinsel, ornaments, 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.
  • Keep metal, sharp or breakable tree ornaments, and those with small removable parts or button batteries, away from young children.

Toys and gifts

  • Buy age-appropriate toys. Toys for older children may contain small parts or other hazards that may make them unsafe for young children.
  • Read and follow the labels, warnings, safety messages and other instructions that come with a toy.
  • Purchase sturdy, well-made toys that come with contact information for the manufacturer or importer.
  • Ensure batteries are properly installed by an adult and not accessible to children.
  • Make sure that button batteries (often found in musical greeting cards, small electronic devices, children’s books and flashing jewellery) stay securely in the products. Look for products with battery compartments that prevent easy access.
  • Supervise children at play and teach them to use their new toys safely.
  • Toys can be recalled for health or safety reasons.
  • Promptly remove and discard all toy packaging like plastic bags, plastic wrap, foam, staples, ties and protective film. A child can suffocate or choke on these items.

Thank you to the Healthy Canadians website for all this great information!

Winter Driving Tips

By: Carl Nadeau, Michelin Driving Expert

With reports indicating that parts of British Columbia may be slated for a cold, snowy winter, residents across the province should be thinking about how to prepare their vehicles for the unpredictable season ahead. Michelin recently conducted a nationwide survey to gain insights into Canadians’ winter driving habits and found that one-third of Canadians do not own winter tires.

In British Columbia, 56% of the survey respondents indicated they do not own winter tires because it does not snow enough or get cold enough to warrant them, opting to stick with their all-seasons instead.

With harsher conditions anticipated on the horizon, it might be helpful for drivers to review some misconceptions and better understand how winter tires can actually increase their road safety as the weather changes, sometimes abruptly so.

Myth: All-season tires are fine for the winter season.
While all-season tires are meant to keep you safe in occasional, transitional weather conditions, winter tires are recommended once the temperature dips below 7 degrees Celsius and consistently approaches freezing, particularly when precipitation gets added to the mix. Winter tires are manufactured with a specific tread and a rubber compound designed to maintain your vehicle’s grip, traction, and braking quality at lower temperatures. Below 7 degrees Celsius, rubber on non-winter tires begins to harden and lose effectiveness. The flexible, silica-rich rubber used for winter tires is more effective, particularly if you don’t want to slide around like a hockey puck.

Myth: Two winter tires on the front of your vehicle will suffice
Having only two winter tires installed on your vehicle can become a serious issue when braking or turning. The winter tires on the front axle will have stronger grip, meaning the rear tires could slide more easily, which could potentially send you into a spin.

Myth: Winter tires aren’t necessary on AWD vehicles
All-wheel drive is a performance feature that many behind the wheel enjoy, but it’s not a safety feature. Increased tread blocks, micro-pumps that absorb water, tridimensional sipes, and the tire compound all play a part in the overall performance of a vehicle’s tires in winter conditions; and tires are the only part of your vehicle that actually touch the road.

Winter can be an unpredictable season. Knowing the value of winter tires will increase your options for a safer, more reliable drive, helping to prepare you to weather the harshest of conditions.

Operation Red Nose is in Effect!

ICBC has all the information you need on Operation Red Nose!

Named in honour of Rudolph, the most famous reindeer of all, Operation Red Nose provides rides to drivers and their passengers who have been drinking or are too tired to drive home during the holiday season.

How it works

On Friday and Saturday nights from November 25 to December 17 and on New Year’s Eve, if you’ve been drinking or are too tired to drive home, call 1-877-604-NOSE and a team of three Operation Red Nose volunteers will help you get home safely.

One volunteer will drive your vehicle, a second volunteer will navigate, and a third volunteer will follow in an escort vehicle to pick up the two volunteers once they drop you off.

Donations to Operation Red Nose are gratefully accepted and help fund local youth sports and other not-for-profit organizations.

In BC you can access Operation Red Nose services in:

  • Abbotsford/Mission
  • Burnaby
  • Chilliwack
  • Delta/Richmond
  • Kamloops (also operating on Dec. 26 and 30)
  • Langley/Surrey
  • New Westminster
  • North Shore (North Vancouver & West Vancouver)
  • Prince George (also operating on Dec. 30)
  • Ridge-Meadows
  • Tri-Cities (Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Belcarra and Anmore)
  • Williams Lake

You can always volunteer to help through the National Operation Red Nose site. In 2015, 4,264 dedicated volunteers across 13 B.C. communities gave 7,071 rides to get people and their vehicles home safely while raising $192,720 for their local charities.

BCAA Community Child Car Seat Program

BCAA, in partnership with United Way of the Lower Mainland, have partnered to offer child car seats to various non profit agencies and community groups so that they can distribute the seats where they are most needed. The agency or group can then use the car seats to operate their children’s programs or disseminate them to local families in need. It is an excellent cause that has benefitted countless families across British Columbia, ensuring road safety for all. Be sure to check out BCAA’s website for plenty of tips and info on installing car seats properly, checking on car seat recalls and learning about how to shop for the safest seat possible.


Test Your Fire Alarm

City of Surrey Fire Chief Len Garis has some tips for using Spring cleaning as a chance to ensure your home is safe from fire. Use these tips below for testing your fire alarm and get the whole family to be part of the action

Tips on testing smoke alarms:
· Smoke alarms should be maintained according to manufacturer’s instructions.
· Test smoke alarms at least once a month using the test button.
· Make sure everyone in the home understands the sound of the smoke alarm and knows how to respond.
· Follow manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning to keep smoke alarms working well. The instructions are included in the package or can be found on the internet.
· Smoke alarms with non-replaceable 10-year batteries are designed to remain effective for up to 10 years. If the alarm chirps, warning that the battery is low, replace the entire smoke alarm right away.
· Smoke alarms with any other type of battery need a new battery at least once a year. If that alarm chirps, warning the battery is low, replace the battery right away.
· When replacing a battery, follow manufacturer’s list of batteries on the back of the alarm or manufacturer’s instructions. Manufacturer’s instructions are specific to the batteries (brand and model) that must be used. The smoke alarm may not work properly if a different kind of battery is used.

To request a free HomeSafe Inspection or Smoke Alarm installation visit: or call 604.543.6780 for details.

Holiday Season Safety

Surrey Fire Service is reminding residents to take extra safety precautions this winter in the wake of new data that shows fires are more likely to occur when the weather is cold. “Even one death or injury is too much, and we know from our analysis that we can expect a death in one in every 83 residential fires, and injuries in one in every 13,” Surrey Fire Chief Len Garis said. “The good news is there are many things people can do to make their homes safer. Simply having a working smoke alarm increases your chances of survival by more than 70 per cent, so it’s important to check them regularly.”

Surrey residents can sign up for a free smoke alarm inspection and installation at, or request a free HomeSafe home fire inspection at 604-543-6780.

Other winter safety precautions include:
· Installing smoke alarms on every floor and testing them regularly.

· Monitoring candles when lit and never leaving them unattended.

· Never leaving the kitchen unattended when food is being cooked.

· Keeping space heaters away from flammable materials (curtains, decorations etc.)

· Using extension cords properly and never overloading them.

· Keeping live Christmas trees watered and away from potential fire sources.

· Ensuring Christmas lights are in good repair and working properly.

More fire prevention information and tips can be found in the Surrey Fire Services section at

Should Schools Be Wi-Fi-Free?

Recently, we received a press release from Citizens for Safe Technology, a not-for-profit educational and advocacy society made up of parents, grandparents, teachers, business professionals, scientists, politicians and lawyers concerned about the exponential increase in public exposure to harmful wireless technologies.

We thought we would share this release with our readers, and find out your individual thoughts on this. [Read more…]

Be Safe, Be Seen This Halloween

The B.C. Association of Optometrists is offering free, reflective stickers for children’s Halloween costumes. The reflective stickers are available to parents across the province at BCAO optometrists’ offices, which are listed at In rural areas where there are no optometry offices, the reflective stickers are provided to the local RCMP detachments.

About 10 per cent of all pedestrian traffic injuries involve children six to 15 years old and occur between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Traditional Halloween activities such as trick-or-treating can be risky because there are more children on the street than usual, and they tend to be excited and pay less attention to traffic safety.

Here are some Halloween safety tips from the B.C. Association of Optometrists:

  • Have a responsible adult accompany trick-or-treaters.
  • Use iron-on reflective fabric or tape – or pick up a “Be seen. Be safe.” reflective sticker for children’s costumes and/or coats.
  • Don’t wear a mask, use hypo-allergenic make-up instead – children need to see where they’re going.
  • Carry a flashlight.
  • Don’t crisscross the street while trick-or-treating – go down one side of the street to the end, then back on the other side.
  • Avoid novelty or cosmetic contact lenses, which may obscure vision and increase the risk of eye infections.
  • Avoid costumes that restrict movement of the head, so children can still easily look both ways before crossing the street.
  • Ensure that the path to your door is well-lit for trick-or-treaters.
  • To avoid an eye injury or vision loss, stay clear of firecrackers and sparklers and keep young children away from them.

Have a happy and safe Halloween!