12 Days of Safety

This article was published in December 2021 and may be outdated.

Keep these electrical and natural gas tips in mind so you and your family are safe during the holidays.

  1. Maintain your natural gas equipment. On the first day of safety, Manitoba Hydro reminds you to have your natural gas heating equipment and appliances checked by a qualified heating contractor. This will ensure they function properly through the colder months and prevent a carbon monoxide risk.
  2. Inspect electrical decorations and light strings before use. Whether new or old, damaged sockets, bare or frayed wires, and loose connections may cause a serious shock or start a fire. Do not connect more than three light strings together.
  3. Only use indoor or outdoor lights and extension cords as indicated on their packaging. Read the instructions on the package before stringing and only use lights as recommended. If an extension cord will be used, be sure it’s the right one for the job.
  4. Don’t overload electrical outlets. Plugging in too many devices into one outlet, and faulty wires are a common cause of fires.
  5. Use extension cords with care. Do not cover extension cords with rugs or furniture. Never plug a freezer, refrigerator or space heater into an extension cord – it may cause a fire.
  6. Use GFCI-protected receptacles to protect you from shock when plugging in outdoors. Keep outdoor connections above ground and out of wet snow. Also use a timer so they turn on and off automatically.
  7. Be wary of purchasing electrical goods being sold online. Protect your family from lousy gifts by avoiding no-name products and bargains that seem too good to be true. Always look for recognized certification markings from an accredited agency.
  8. Never leave cooking or baking unattended. Cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires. Be especially careful when you’re using the stove or cooktop while frying foods. Always stay in the kitchen – even if you’re using the oven – and set a timer to remind yourself to check on cooking food.
  9. Check the flame on your natural gas appliances. It should be blue – a yellow flame could indicate carbon monoxide.
  10. Test your carbon monoxide and smoke alarms and replace batteries. These devices should be tested regularly, and the batteries or device replaced. Most CO alarms will last up to 10 years. Mark your calendar to check your alarms during the holidays.
  11. Turn off tree lights, portable space heaters and put out candles when you’re away or before going to sleep. Local fire departments respond to fires caused by heating equipment and holiday decorations each year.
  12. Learn about keeping you and your family safe. On the last day of safety – or any day of the year – please learn more about keeping you and family safe.