‘Tis the season to entertain guests, prepare wonderful food and put up festive decorations. Stay fire-safe this holiday season while you cook, bake and light up the tree.

Statistics reported by the Office of the Fire Commissioner show that fire-related deaths in Alberta homes double during the winter holiday season, with heating equipment, cooking and electrical causes leading the list.

Heating: For many Albertans, the glow of embers in a fireplace adds ambience and a festive mood to friendly gatherings. Keep the screen closed and do not leave the fire unattended. Flammable items- like stockings- should not be hung from the mantel if you plan to light a fire. Store matches and other fire starters out of reach of children.

If you choose to use an electric space heater, be sure to unplug it when the room is vacant. Leave least 1 metre between a space heater and combustibles like curtains, paper, bedding and furniture.

Cooking: Have a fire extinguisher handy in case of a small fire and know how to use it. Keep combustibles like tea towels, recipe books, wooden spoons and paper towels away from the stovetop. If grease or oil ignites remember that water makes the problem worse; instead use baking soda or a fire extinguisher.

Electrical: Check light strands before use and discard any that are damaged. If you connect strands together or use a power bar to increase the number of receptacles, be aware of the total electrical draw. A power bar makes more plug-ins available, but does not increase the load for the circuit, so use with care.

Do not run an extension cord under a carpet, over an area where people walk or drive, or where it can sit in snow or freeze in puddles. Do not use an indoor extension cord outdoors. Do not connect LED and incandescent light strings.