Nova Scotians are reminded to think about fire safety while celebrating over the holidays. Natural Christmas trees should be freshly cut and placed in a stand that can hold at least a gallon of water. The water should be checked daily. The tree, gifts, wrapping paper and decorations should always be placed away from heat sources, including radiators, fireplaces, wood stoves, television sets and computer monitors. Trees should not block exits. “We want all Nova Scotians to be safe over the holidays while enjoying time with their friends and family,” said Labour and Advanced Education Minister Kelly Regan. “There are a few basic tips to keep in mind while trimming the tree, staying warm, lighting candles, decorating the house, or cooking. Being extra careful this time of year can make a big difference.” When decorating, check for frayed or cracked wires and broken light sockets. Always use Canadian Standard Association approved lights, extension cords and non-combustible decorations. Do not use outdoor lights and cords indoors, and avoid running extension cords through door jambs or under carpets. “House fires over the holidays are tragic,” said Provincial Fire Marshal Harold Pothier. “I encourage everyone to be conscious of fire safety over the coming weeks so you can enjoy this time of year with loved ones.” Never leave lights on or candles lit while out of the room or sleeping. Outdoor lights and equipment should be plugged into a ground fault circuit interrupter outlet. Never use nails or tacks that penetrate the insulation to support lights; use plastic hooks or insulated staples where possible. Outdoor lights should be installed with the bulbs hanging down to prevent moisture from accumulating in them. When the tree is ready for disposal, Nova Scotians are reminded not to burn it in a fireplace or wood stove. The rapid burning and excessive heat can damage the firebox and chimney, creating a serious fire hazard. People should check with the municipality to determine what day trees will be picked up. Smoke alarms should be tested weekly during the holiday season. Fire extinguishers, escape ladders, smoke alarms, emergency kits and flash lights also make great gifts. For more information on holiday fire safety, contact the Office of the Fire Marshal at 902-424-5721. To watch a video of fire marshal Harold Pothier’s fire safety tips, visit http://youtu.be/DD0H6dvH_GY .