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Burned out red bulbs shine bright for fire safety


Last updated 12/4/2019 at 9:08pm | View PDF

The Hinsdale Fire Department is once again participating in the annual statewide Keep the Wreath Red fire safety program. A wreath will be hung outside the station at 121 Symonds Drive. For each fire caused by holiday decorations, a red bulb will be replace with a white bulb.

The fact the wreath had not been displayed as of Wednesday because new red bulbs were needed could be received as welcome news. Those red bulbs must have held their positions, signaling a series of safe seasons. Let’s all make sure that streak continues by staying vigilant to the dangers that the proliferation of candles and lights this time of year can present.

Holiday decoration and Christmas tree fires, according to the U.S. Fire Administration, are more severe than the average fire at other times of the year. Twice the injuries and five times the fatalities occur as a result of these fires. An average of 200 home fires started with Christmas trees nationwide from 2011-15, causing an average of six deaths, 16 injuries and $14.8 million in property damage annually.

In 26 percent of Christmas tree fires and in 80 percent of the deaths, some type of heat source, such as a candle or equipment, was too close to the tree. A dried out tree will burn in less than 1 minute — much faster than one that has been watered regularly. Once the tree has become brittle, stop using the lights. And lights should never be left on when no one is home.

Firefighters also offer these reminders to help residents stay safe this holiday season.

• Check all illuminated decorations to make sure they are in good condition. Light strands with frayed or cracked wires should be thrown away and replaced with UL approved devices. Outside cords should be approved for exterior uses.

• Do not overload extension cords or outlets with excessive holiday lights. Follow the manufacturers’ recommendations. Also, be conscious of where you place extension cords. Keep them away from heaters, out from underneath rugs and anywhere else they may become damaged.

• Never leave candles unattended and always place them out of reach of children and pets. Make sure they are in stable holders and place them where they cannot be knocked down easily. Consider using battery-operated flameless candles, which can look, smell and feel like real candles.

• Make sure your fireplace is in good working order and the chimney is free from obstructions and creosote build-up. Christmas wrappings and tree branches burn rapidly and should not to be put in the fireplace, as they can cause chimney fires and flames to extend out of the firebox into your home.

• Keep Christmas trees at least 3 feet away from heat sources like fireplaces, radiators, space heaters, candles or heat vents. Trees should be disposed of shortly after Christmas or when they become dry.

• As always, check smoke detectors and make sure they are in good working order. If you did not change the batteries when you changed your clocks to daylight-saving time, change them now.


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