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‘Keep the Wreath Green’

By Staff | Dec 8, 2015

The Cape Coral Fire Department recently kicked off its annual, holiday fire safety campaign.

The “Keep the Wreath Green” campaign started on Dec. 1. For the third year in a row, a wreath illuminated with green bulbs has been placed outside Fire Station 4, at 2007 Santa Barbara Blvd. If a preventable fire occurs during the month of December, one of the green bulbs is changed to red.

Preventable fires are fires caused by things like cooking, smoking, space heaters or candles.

“They are currently still all green,” Andrea Schuch, spokeswoman for the CCFD, said Tuesday.

The goal is to keep the lights green throughout the holidays. In the past two years, the campaign has ended with the wreath displaying five red bulbs. Organizers are hoping for better results this year.

“Zero would be ideal, but fewer than five,” she said of the goal.

According to Schuch, the wreath serves as a visual reminder for the public to make fire safety a priority during the holidays – a time when people can easily stray from their typical year-round routines.

“The biggest thing with holiday safety is distractions,” she said, adding that there are presents, decorating, cooking, visitors and more going on. “That’s when safety can kind of be overlooked.”

Officials hope the visual reminder keeps fire safety in the back of people’s minds.

“As everyone gets busier during the holidays, we often become rushed, distracted or tired,” Cape Fire Chief Donald Cochran said via a statement. “That’s when home fires are more likely to occur.”

The risk of fire in homes increases with the additional use of fireplaces, decorative lighting, live Christmas tress and the burning of candles. However, the season can remain festive and safe.

“By taking some preventative steps and following simple rules of thumb, most home fires can be prevented,” Schuch said.

When it comes to decorations, use those only made of flame-resistant, flame-retardant or non-consumable materials. Keep them away from heat sources, as well as windows and doors.

Two out of five home decoration fires are started by candles. Keep candles at least 12 inches away from decorations or other combustible materials, and never leave them unattended in a room.

Closely inspect all holiday lighting before use to ensure all wires, bulbs and connections are in a safe condition. Use clips, not nails, to hang lights, and turn off all lights when leaving or going to bed.

Before buying an artificial tree, make sure it is identified by the manufacturer as fire-retardant. With a live tree, look for signs of freshness when buying, add water daily and keep away from heat sources.

Unattended cooking is the leading cause of home fires and home fire injuries in America. After Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and Christmas Eve are the peak days for home cooking fires.

When frying, grilling or broiling, stay in the kitchen. When simmering, boiling, baking or roasting food, stay in the home and check on it frequently. Create a “kid-free zone” of at least three feet.

Ensure there is a working smoke alarm on each level of the home, and practice a fire escape plan.

“The holidays can quickly turn from joyful to tragic when a fire occurs,” she said. “By taking simple precautions, the citizens of Cape Coral can stay safe and ‘Keep the Wreath Green.'”

For more information, visit on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/CapeCoral-FD.