Dixon rural, city fire departments begin red-light wreath campaign

‘Keep the Wreath Red’ campaign underway to remind residents to stay safe during Christmas season

Dixon City and Rural fire departments remind you to keep the wreath red by being extra vigilant regarding holiday fire safety. Pictured: City chief Ryan Buskohl (left), George Markel, Adam Arnould, Cody Schau, Jason Hemmer, Becky Conner and Dustin Dahlstrom, who will become Dixon Rural fire chief in January.

DIXON – The Dixon Fire Department and Dixon Rural Fire Department’s annual “Keep the Wreath Red” Campaign began Monday.

From now through Monday, Jan. 1, both fire stations will display a Christmas wreath decorated with red lights and one single red lightbulb in the center of the wreath. If either department sees a holiday decoration-related fire during this time, both will change the red bulb to white. The intent of the red light illuminated Christmas wreath is to bring awareness of the devastating effects of holiday-related fires and the importance of being fire safe, according to a news release issued by both departments.

Holiday fire safety tips

  • Selecting a tree for the holiday: Needles on fresh trees should be green and hard to pull back from the branches, and the needles should not break if the tree has been freshly cut. The trunk should be sticky to the touch. Old trees can be identified by bouncing the tree trunk on the ground. If many needles fall off, the tree has been cut too long, has probably dried out, and is a fire hazard.
  • Caring for your tree: Do not place your tree close to a heat source, including a fireplace or heat vent. The heat will dry out the tree, causing it to be more easily ignited by heat, flame or sparks. Be careful not to drop or flick cigarette ashes near a tree. Keep the tree stand filled with water at all times.
  • Disposing of your tree: Never put tree branches or needles in a fireplace or wood-burning stove. When the tree becomes dry, discard it promptly. The best way to dispose of your tree is by taking it to a recycling center or having it hauled away by a community pick-up service.
  • Maintain your holiday lights: Inspect holiday lights each year for frayed wires, bare spots, gaps in the insulation, broken or cracked sockets, and excessive kinking or wear before putting them up. Use only lighting listed by an approved testing laboratory.
  • Do not overload electrical outlets: Do not link more than three light strands, unless the directions indicate it is safe. Connect strings of lights to an extension cord before plugging the cord into the outlet. Make sure to periodically check the wires – they should not be warm to the touch.
  • Do not leave holiday lights on unattended: Turn off the lights when leaving the house.
  • Use only nonflammable decorations: All decorations should be nonflammable or flame-retardant and placed away from heat vents.
  • Never put wrapping paper in a fireplace: Wrapping paper can throw off dangerous sparks and produce a chemical buildup in the home that could cause an explosion.
  • Artificial Christmas trees: If you are using a metallic or artificial tree, make sure it is flame retardant.
  • Avoid using lighted candles: If you do use them, make sure they are in stable holders and place them where they cannot be easily knocked down. Never leave the house with candles burning.
  • Never put lighted candles on a tree: Do not put an open flame – such as candles, lighters or matches – on or near a Christmas tree.

Originally founded in 1954 by Paul Boecker, of the Naperville Fire Department, the “Keep the Wreath Red” campaign was adopted by the Illinois Fire Chiefs Association in 1980. In their 30th year of participating in this awareness campaign, Dixon Fire Department and Dixon Rural Fire Department have been fortunate to only change the bulb a few times. The departments hope to maintain that trend for years to come and want to sincerely wish all residents a safe and very Merry Christmas.

Tom and Marcella Kitson and Lori Sheridan of Nichols Greenhouse supplied the campaign wreaths.

For any fire safety-related questions, contact Dixon Fire Chief Ryan Buskohl at 815-288-3323 or Dixon Rural Fire Chief Sid Aurand at 815-284-6897.

Dixon City and Rural fire departments remind you to keep the wreath red by being extra vigilant regarding holiday fire safety. Pictured: City chief Ryan Buskohl (left), George Markel, Adam Arnould, Cody Schau, Jason Hemmer, Becky Conner and Dustin Dahlstrom, who will become Dixon Rural fire chief in January.
Shaw Local News Network

Shaw Local News Network

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