Home Fire Safety Tips for the Holidays



The Christmas tree

  • Get a freshly cut tree. It will stay green longer and be less of a fire hazard. Try to pick a tree with a strong green colour and noticeable fragrance.
  • Always test for freshness before buying. A tree with high moisture content is safer. Very few needles should fall when the butt of the tree is tapped on the ground; needles should bend, not break; and the stump should be sticky with resin.
  • Place the tree in a stand that will hold 2 to 3 litres of water and top it up daily. Make sure it is always immersed in water: If water drops below the trunk, the stem may reseal itself, requiring a fresh cut. Use a tree stand that has widespread legs for better balance.
  • Do not set your tree up near a heat source such as a radiator, television, fireplace, heating duct or sunny window. It should not block doors or windows.
  • Never use lighted candles on the tree.
  • Remove the tree within 10 to 14 days.  After that amount of time in a heated building, even the freshest tree can start to dry out.


  • Choose decorations that are flame-retardant, non-combustible and non-conductive.
  • If there are young children or pets in your home, avoid very small decorations.
  • Avoid using angel hair (glass wool) together with spray-on snowflakes. This combination is highly combustible.
  • Do not use metallic ornaments on the tree. If they make contact with defective wiring they could become a shock hazard.


  • Use Canadian Standards Association (CSA) certified light strings/sets.
  • Use the proper lights for the environment. Indoor light strings/sets should not be used outdoors because they lack weatherproof connections. Some outdoor light strings/sets burn too hot indoors.
  • Inspect light strings/set before use. Check for cracked bulbs and for frayed, broken or exposed wires, and discard if faulty.
  • Do not use electric light strings/sets on metallic trees. A faulty system could energize the tree and shock or electrocute anyone coming into contact. Illuminate metallic trees with colored floodlights placed at a safe distance from the tree and out of reach.
  • Turn off all tree and display lights before retiring for the night or before leaving the house.


  • Place candles away from absolutely anything that could catch fire.
  • Never leave burning candles unattended.
  • Burn them only when a responsible adult is overseeing the flame.
  • Put candles in sturdy holders on a stable surface, well away from drafts, curtains, children and pets.
  • Snuff them out before leaving the room or going to sleep.

The Fireplace

  • Never burn gift wrappings, boxes, cartons, or other types of packing in the fireplace. They burn too rapidly and generate far too much heat.
  • Don't hang Christmas stockings from the mantel when the fireplace is in use.
  • Always use a screen in front of the fireplace to protect against flying sparks.
  • Never use gasoline or any other flammable liquids to start a fire.
  • Use only seasoned and dried wood.
  • Never leave the fire unattended or let it smoulder.
  • Clean the ashes regularly. Place the ashes in a metal container and store outside away from flammable materials.
  • Don't use Christmas trees for firewood.

Electrical Outlets

  • There is often a tendency to overload wall outlets during the holiday season. This is an unsafe practice and should be avoided even for short durations.
  • Inspect all cords before using. Make sure they are CSA certified. Look for loose connections or frayed or exposed wire. Discard any defective cords. Read the labels and manufacturer's instructions to ensure proper use.
  • Insert plugs fully into outlets. Poor contact may cause overheating or shock.
  • To avoid possible overheating, do not coil or bunch an extension cord which is in use and do not run it under carpets or rugs.

The Kitchen

Grease and fat fires are a leading cause of home fires in Canada, so be extra careful when doing this kind of cooking. Here's what to do if grease in a pot or pan catches fire:

  • Smother the flames by covering the pan with a lid.
  • Turn off the heat immediately.
  • Use baking soda (flour can be explosive) on shallow grease fires.
  • Never turn on the overhead fan, as this could spread the fire.
  • Never throw water on a grease fire.

Gift Suggestions

  • Home smoke alarm
  • Carbon monoxide detector
  • Multi-purpose (ABC) fire extinguisher
  • Candle snuffer
  • Thermostatically controlled deep fryer

Last but not least ... make sure your smoke detectors work!  

Preventing accidental fire during the holidays

(NC) It's the holiday season, our most festive time of the year. It's a time of celebration, joy and connecting with family and friends. Unfortunately, this important time can also be one marked by tragedy if precautions are not taken against accidental fire. 


According to the Canadian Safety Council, every year about 400 Canadians lose their lives in an accidental household fire. In fact, it's during the holiday season that the number of deaths caused by accidental household fires is at its highest.


Patrice De Luca, vice president of Marketing and Customer care for Reliance Protectron Security Services, says the major culprit for this significant increase is the famed Christmas tree. “You need to take every possible precaution to minimize the risks of fire, especially if you choose a natural tree,” he added. “Fire is one of the greatest threats to your family and home. People do not realize the emotional toll a fire can take, even if there is no loss of life.”

Here are safety tips to consider from Protectron's free “Saving Lives Program”:


• If possible, consider an artificial tree. They are much safer and cleaner.

• Leave the tree outside until you're ready to decorate. 

• The tree stand should hold at least 1 gallon of water. It's crucial to check the water level every day.

• Detectors for smoke and carbon monoxide should be installed at strategic locations – your kitchen, stairwell, bedroom hallways and other high-traffic household areas. Monitored smoke detectors can save lives by having operators standing by 24-7 and dispatching emergency services if required (for example if fire occurs while sleeping).

• Keep the tree away from floor heaters, fireplaces, or other heat sources.

• Use only CSA-listed lights, and no more than three strands linked together.

• Use miniature lights–which have cool-burning bulbs.

• Turn off the Christmas lights when you sleep, or if you leave your home for very long. 

• Examine light strings each year, discard worn ones. 

• Fasten the bulbs securely and point the sockets down to avoid moisture build up.

• Avoid overloading wall outlets and extension cords.

• Have an operable fire extinguisher readily available.

• Practice an escape plan at least once a year. Make sure the whole family is involved.

• Finally, make sure to dispose of your tree properly at the end of the season. 


Protectron's “Saving Lives Program” is offered free to families considering home security solutions. More information on the program or on fire safety and home security is available online at



The entryway of any house is the busiest place in the home and it is always the first place that buyers see, and if you have kids....things can be even more cluttered.  It is in your best interest when selling your home to make a really great first imporession and here are some ideas I found on the web that may help with that first impression.   Wouldn't it be great if we could all hire a contractor to come in and make that custom entryway or mud room?  Of course  when it comes to selling your home you are trying to save money and get it sold quickly.  Se here are some great DIY projects that will fit a tight budget and these can all be done in little to no time at all, and this can all be done while making your home look fantastic when buyers are seeing your home for the first time. 

Remember the first impression is a lasting one!

What a simple concept, yet really clever. Two boards, some hooks and some wood boxes. You can even get wood boxes at Home Depot these days. Paint or stain the color of your choice…

Easy tutorial with photos by Melissa from ’320 Sycamore’ made this DIY entryway solution herself, and inexpensively! 

How can it be any simpler than this, it is easy, inexpensive and it keeps all of the coats off the floor and it looks great.

This is one of my favorites!  Easy and creative!  From ‘Elle Interior‘… Paint a reclaimed pallet any color, add hooks, hang on the wall. Make sure your pallet does not have chemicals in the wood…

From Staci at ‘Random Sweetness’, this rustic entryway bench was made from reclaimed wood. Check out how they made it…

If you have Kids?  This one is great!  Organizational and tidy!  Looks great!  

I found this family command center idea on ‘All Parenting‘… 

Image Credits: Beautiful Mess320 SycamoreRandom SweetnessHouse of SmithsDIY MommyBeautiful MessElle InteriorCreativity Exchange

For more ideas on how to sell your home fast and some great staging tips dont hesitate to contact Lawrence

The Realtor Friends refer to Friends!


Please visit our Open House at 59 SILVERADO SKIES BAY SW in Calgary.
Open House on Saturday, November 22, 2014 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Original owner - first time on the market! Outstanding home - GREAT location - in the BAY - very quiet with a large lot. The perfect floor plan with a 2nd floor bonus room, laundry room - so convenient and three family sized bedrooms. The 2nd kids bedroom has a walk-in closet - WOW. Wonderful master with exquisite 5 piece ensuite - including double sinks - separate shower and large soaker tub. Amazing main floor - VERY upgraded with 9' ceilings - extended cabinets - stainless steel appliances - large granite island - hardwood floors - tiled entrance - stone fireplace - large dining area and an extra large walk-in pantry. Over sized back yard with a deck and metal railings. The perfect home in the perfect location. Be the first to view this outstanding family residence!

I want all of my trusted and valued clients and thier friends and family to be informed and not fall prey to unlicensed mortgage brokers and agents.  This is an important alert that came out from RECA - The Real Estate Council of Alberta today and if you or anyone you know has been approached or has had contact with Derek Johnson from Joe Rheal Estate then you need to read the following.  

Consumer Alert: Derek Johnson, aka John Davis,  
Predatory Real Estate and Mortgage Practices - Unlicensed Activity     

For immediate release 
November 13, 2014

Derek Johnson is breaking the law. He needs a licence under the Real Estate Act to trade in real estate on behalf of others and deal in mortgages. He does not have these licences and has never had them.

Derek Johnson says he is helping people. He is not. He preys on home owners who are in a vulnerable financial position and facing foreclosure. 

Johnson used to operate Free List Calgary and is currently involved in (Joe Rheal Estate). He has also been involved in Partners in Success Mortgage Inc. and New Age Financing. None of these are licensed to trade in real estate or deal in mortgages in Alberta.

The Real Estate Council of Alberta has issued a direction to Johnson to cease unlicensed practice. Johnson has ignored this direction to stop. The Council is taking further action.

If someone offers to represent you in a real estate transaction or to deal in a mortgage for you, ensure that individual is licensed by RECA. RECA is the licensing and governing body for real estate, mortgage brokerage and real estate appraisal professionals in Alberta. Consumers can find out if an individual is licensed through RECA’s website, Use the “Searching for an Industry Professional” tool.

Licensed individuals must meet and maintain licensing requirements. Among them, individuals must provide a Certified Criminal Record Check prior to licensing, complete comprehensive pre-licensing education and ongoing re-licensing education, and maintain errors and omissions insurance. In the event of a licensee’s fraud, breach of trust or failure to account or disburse money in accordance with the terms of trust, a consumer may be eligible for compensation from RECA’s consumer compensation fund. 

If you have concerns as a result of dealings with Derek Johnson, Free List Calgary, Joe Rheal Estate, Partners in Success Mortgage Inc. or New Age Financing, please contact the Real Estate Council of Alberta toll-free at 1-888-425-2754.

For Professional Real Estate Advice Contact Lawrence today!

The Realtor Friends Recommend to Friends!


Just because you have a small kitchen does not mean that you cannot make use of all of the space that is available.  Make your kitchen look larger, and more modern with these easy steps.  I love some of the ideas that were presented in this article.  This kitchen would definatley sell a house!  



Not all homes are blessed with large, professional-grade culinary spaces for streamlined meal preparation. Small kitchens can still function perfectly well, even though they lack expansive cabinets and large islands. The issue with tight kitchens is that most homeowners and renters don’t utilize all of the space available to them.

Don’t let alcoves go to waste; use these seven ideas to store small-scale cooking accessories and foodstuffs.

1. Plate Drawers

Optimize drawer space by outfitting them with movable pegs or wire racks. Plates and bowls can be placed within arm’s reach rather than in upper cabinets where they risk falling and breaking.

2. Pull-Out Pantry

Rather than rummage through jars of spices and extracts, install sliding cabinets for easier access to cooking supplies used less frequently. Sliding pantries also aid in organization, and their narrower structures can be customized to fit a certain number of jars per row.

3. Multi-Functional Countertops

A lack of counter space can cause difficulty when chopping fruits and vegetables. Rather than taking up precious workspace, consider installing sliding cutting boards under counters. For easier cleanup, install pull-out chopping blocks right above fixed disposal bins. Cut small holes so food scrapes can be easily brushed into garbage bins without carrying messes across kitchen floors.

Some kitchens in newer homes for sale feature divot-like bowls integrated within countertops. These resting areas allow cooks to set down cylindrical ingredients without worrying about them rolling off edges and making messes on the floor. Storing circular fruits and veggies on countertops also frees up fridge space and eliminates over-crowded shelves.

4. Door Hangers

Homeowners with small kitchens should utilize every nook and cranny for their kitchen supplies. Command hooks are great for hanging light culinary materials such as wooden spoons and rubber spatulas. Stick magnetic boards onto the inside of cabinets to hang recipes and grocery lists without cluttering the fronts of fridges. Heavy-duty supplies, including metal colanders and stove pots, can be hung using pegboard.

5. Ceiling Stowaway

Culinary professionals sometimes install large racks to hang pots and pans from ceilings. However, small-scale ceiling hangers are available for homeowners to stow their cookwares up and out of the way. Use these fixtures to rid cabinets of superfluous frying pans while adding unique hanging décor to plain kitchens.

6. Wire Cabinet Shelves

Large vertical spaces between fixed cabinet shelves can be frustrating, especially when it feels like shorter items don’t fit efficiently. Rather than remove and reinstall wooden shelves inside cabinets, place removable wire racks in between them. This way, smaller objects take advantage of single areas in an organized fashion.

7. Rolling Carts

Mimic the look of islands in compact kitchens using mobile, rolling carts. Carts add extra counter space, increase the number of storage shelves and serve as convenient bar carts for entertaining. Narrow carts can be placed in awkward gaps between cabinets and refrigerators, successfully filling unused square footage and providing nooks for wine bottles, dried goods and condiments.

Some of these storage options may require a bit of do-it-yourself work, so renters might consider searching for updated apartments with ample storage readily available. Otherwise, consult landlords before replacing countertops or any structural kitchen features in attempts to optimize storage.

Article by  Jennifer Riner of Zillow

Image Credits: Urrutia Design

If you want more tips on How to stage your home and make great use of the space you have contact Lawrence today, he has a group of professionals he works with that will get your home ready for sale to get the best market value with no hassles.

Contact Lawrence today

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