Red Deer fire marshal Wes Van Bavel (File photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)

Cold snap and holidays can boost fire risk

Number of fires often spikes when it’s cold or over the holidays

A severe cold snap and the holiday season both raised the risk of fire tragedies, say fire officials.

Red Deer Emergency Services fire marshall Wes Van Bavel said it’s not uncommon for firefighters to see a spike in blazes from mid-December through the New Year.

“Cooking, candles, portable heaters and/or fireplaces are the leading causes of fires during the holiday season,” said Van Bavel Friday.

Across Alberta, the number of fires jumps 30 per cent over the holidays, he said.

So far, Red Deer has avoided an increase in fires.

A 31-year-old man died in a house fire in Normandeau Dec. 17. A cause has not yet been determined.

There have also been a number of vehicle fires, but no other house fires, said Van Bavel.

“We like to credit a lot of it to our home safety program,” he said. Red Deer Emergency Services gets out to about 3,000 homes a year, providing safety inspections and tips.

Provincially, there were 1.2 fires per 1,000 people on average in 2016, the last year for which statistics are available. Red Deer was at 0.7 fires per 1,000 people in 2016, and 2017 is expected to be about the same.

Red Deer County fire inspector Travis Allred also added words of caution.

“We’re very much urging people with this cold snap that we’re having to try to find safe ways to heat,” he said.

“With this cold weather people are trying extraordinary means to heat things and defrost things. We need them to do that in the safest manner possible.”

People should be wary of using propane and charcoal or other heat sources in enclosed areas. Overloaded electrical systems is another danger to be conscious of, he said.

“We often see a spike during these cold snaps. And that’s just due to people trying to thaw things out.”

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Central Alberta Child Advocacy Centre outgrows its temporary space

Working with clients in Red Deer and across central Alberta

Horse abusers shouldn’t profit off the sales of sick or starving equines, say women

Too many poor-condition horses are being auctioned off in central Alberta, they maintain

Blaine Calkins easily takes Red Deer-Lacombe for Conservatives

Blaine Calkins won 80 per cent of the vote

Your community calendar

Tuesday The Small Business Centre at Burman University’s School of Business invites… Continue reading

‘Backbone Slide’ to become first rap song in Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame

TORONTO — Party anthem “Let Your Backbone Slide” helped usher in Canada’s… Continue reading

The Ontario Native Women’s Association launches magazine for women

TORONTO — A new magazine promises to offer an empowering voice for… Continue reading

Phone, TV, social media use tied to more sugar and caffeine in teens

HAMILTON — A new study finds teens who spend more time watching… Continue reading

Sylvan Lake brewery hosting creepy cabaret

Boo’s and Brews is hosted by Undercurrent Brewery on Oct. 25

Lacombe, Red Deer judged among Canada’s 20 best places to live

Lacombe has placed fifth in’s 20 best places to live in… Continue reading

Ponoka putting former visitor information centre up for sale

Ponoka has declared the building that previously housed the town’s visitor information… Continue reading

Election results reflect a divided nation

Under the guise of a minority victory for Justin Trudeau’s Liberals, Canadians… Continue reading

Most Read