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The original item was published from 11/14/2023 10:29:26 AM to 11/20/2023 2:43:01 PM.

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General Press Releases

Posted on: November 14, 2023

[ARCHIVED] 2023 Keep The Wreath Red Program - Fire Department Reminds Everyone To Be Safe During The Holidays

Westmont, Illinois -- Date Issued: November 14, 2023

Keep the Wreath Red

“While the holidays are a wonderful time of year for friends and families, it is important to remember to be vigilant regarding fire safety,” said Westmont Fire Chief Steve Riley. “The end-of-year holiday fire statistics are quite sobering and remind us all to take the necessary precautions to keep our families safe.”

End Of Year Holiday Fire Facts

  • U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated average of 790 home structure fires per year that began with decorations, excluding Christmas trees. These fires caused an annual average of 4 civilian fire deaths, 33 civilian fire injuries and $14 million in direct property damage.
  • Electrical distribution or lighting equipment was involved in more than two in five home Christmas tree fires.
  • Nearly one in five Christmas tree fires were started by lamps or bulbs. Eight percent were started by candles.
  • Roughly two of every five home Christmas tree fires started in the living room.
  • Candle fires peak in December and January with 11 percent of candle fires in each of these months.
  • Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires, followed by Christmas Day and Christmas Eve.
  • Year round, one-third (33%) of home decoration fires were started by candles. This jumped to almost half in December when candles started 46% of such fires. Cooking started one-fifth (19%) of decoration fires.

Keep The Wreath Red Program
“To help inspire and remind our citizens regarding the importance of fire safety, the Westmont Fire Department will once again promote the Keep The Wreath Red Program,” added Riley.

The Keep the Wreath Red Program is an annual event aimed at increasing the awareness of safety while decorating our homes for the holidays. Outside both Fire Stations is a wreath with red lights. The wreaths remain lit 24 hours a day during the holiday season December 1 through January 2, 2024. If a fire occurs that is determined to be the result of a holiday decoration, a white bulb will replace a red bulb on the wreath. The hope is that the wreath will serve as a constant reminder to practice safety while displaying holiday decorations.

Holiday Fire Safety Tips
The following are some safety practices to keep in mind this holiday season.

  • Cut two-to-three inches off the bottom of a fresh tree and put in water immediately, water daily.
  • Use no more than three standard size  sets of lights per single extension cord. Do not run extension cords under rugs.
  • Place the tree away from fireplaces, radiators, or other heat sources.
  • Turn off all tree and display lights before going to bed or leaving the house.
  • Have your chimney professionally inspected and cleaned at least once a year.
  • Carbon Monoxide gasses can be emitted from a smoldering fire. Be sure fires are fully extinguished before going to bed.
  • Never burn wrapping paper, boxes, etc. in the fireplace. They burn too rapidly and generate far too much heat. 
  • Do not hang stockings from the mantle when the fireplace is in use.
  • Never use lighted candles on a tree. Keep candles away from decorations and wrapping paper. 
  • Put candles in sturdy holders on a stable surface, well away from drafts, curtains, children and pets.
  • Keep wicks trimmed to ¼ inch at all times. This inhibits carbon build up.
  • Remove labels and tags from candles before burning.

If you have any fire safety questions, please contact the Westmont Fire Department at 630-981-6400.


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