By LaShaina Blair-White 
BELLEVILLE – The Belleville fire department  wants the community to be fire-free this holiday season.
“One of the main causes for fires this season is carelessness – anything from unattended cooking to Christmas-tree lights,” Corey Davis, a fire-prevention officer with the department, told QNetNews Wednesday.
Kitchens are one of the main issues, he said: “When you turn a burner on, you want to be there with it. If there are children around, you want to make sure the handles (on the pots) are turned in.”
The fire department estimates that it will receive about 50 to 60 calls this month alone, Davis said.
“Watch out for each other. Help each other. Be aware. Let them know if they are doing something they possibly shouldn’t be doing, or suggest something else they could do.”
Asked what the No. 1 tip he could pass on to others is, Davis replied: “We all have to take some type of responsibility for fire prevention, and if we do see something wrong we should speak up.”
The department has released 12 tips to help keep your family safe this holiday season. They are:
- Install smoke alarms  on every storey and outside all sleeping areas of the home.
- Install carbon monoxide alarms if burning fuel appliances.
- Water fresh trees daily.
- Practise and develop an escape plan with your family. Everyone should know each exit in the house.
- Make sure wood stoves, fireplaces and chimneys are maintained and in working order.
- All Christmas trees should be away from all ignition sources.
- Use extension cords wisely.
- Go flameless – avoid using real candles, opting instead for safer flameless candles.
- Put your space heater at least three metres away from anything that can burn.
- Encourage smokers to smoke outside.
- Stay in the kitchen while cooking.
- Keep matches and lighters out of the sight and reach of children.