Help the fire department 'Keep the Wreath Red'

Some like to decorate with multicolored bulbs for holidays. Others enjoy the simplicity of all white lights.

At the Hinsdale Fire Department, the preferred color is red.

Every year the department teams up with the Illinois Fire Chiefs Association and neighboring departments in the “Keep the Wreath Red” program.

A holiday wreath hangs inside the Mini Museum, the small building located near the fire station’s entrance at 121 Symonds Drive. If there is a holiday related fire, one of the wreath’s red bulbs will be replaced with a white one. The goal is to keep all the bulbs on the wreath red.

To help accomplish that goal, the department has offered a series of safety reminders to keep everyone 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 and inside cords should not be placed under carpets or throw rugs.

• Keep live Christmas trees watered frequently. Be aware of the tree’s condition and when it becomes brittle, discontinue using the lights. Always turn of the lights when no one is home.

• Use extreme caution with holiday candles and all other open flames to assure they are safe and will not set fire to nearby objects.

• Make sure the fireplace is in good working order and the chimney is free from obstructions and creosote build-up. Christmas wrappings and tree branches are not to be burned in the fireplace. Their intense and rapid burning can cause chimney fires and flames to extend out of the firebox into the home.

• As always, check smoke detectors and make sure they are in good working order. If the detectors have batteries that can be replaced and were not when clocks were turned back last month, replace them now.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, U.S. Fire Departments responded to an estimated average of 790 home fires per year that began with decorations, excluding Christmas trees. These fires cause an annual average of one civilian death, 26 civilian injuries and $13 million in direct property damage. Add in an average of 160 home fires that started with Christmas trees, which become more and more flammable as they dry out. Although Christmas tree fires are not common, they can grow very fast.

Residents with questions or who need more information should call the fire department at (630) 789-7060 or visit the village’s website at