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Local firefighters hang wreaths, hope to keep them red

November 20, 2018

As long as people are microwaving turkeys and plugging too many space heaters and Christmas lights into the same power strip, local firefighters will be doing all they can to keep the wreath red.

The local departments are again participating in the Red Wreath Program, through which they hang red bulb-decorated wreaths on their stations to remind people to be aware of holiday-specific fire hazards.

“It’s just a reminder to everybody who drives by to remember the small things – if they left something in the oven, and not to overload any power sources,” said Sycamore firefighter and paramedic Ian Wheeler as he hung the wreath over the Station 1 fire engine bay Tuesday morning.

If the department responds to a holiday-related fire, a red bulb gets changed out for a white one. Wheeler said last year, for the first time in over than 10 years, a bulb had to be swapped out after a turkey was left in the oven too long and started a fire, fortunately resulting in minimal property damage.

Here are a few tips the Sycamore Department has to offer:

• If you’re going to fry your turkey, do it outside with no objects nearby that could catch fire.

• Check lights for frayed wires or open light sockets, and only use exterior-approved cords outdoors; don’t run extension cords under rugs or carpet.

• If you’ve got a live tree, keep it watered. If it starts to dry out, limit the number of lights you use, and always turn off lighted decorations when you leave the house.

• Make sure your fireplace is in working condition, and that your chimney is free of obstructions. Don’t burn garbage in the fireplace.

• Blow out the candles when you leave or go to bed, and leave at least a foot between candles and other objects.

• Check those smoke detectors. Batteries should be changed out every time you change your clocks for Daylight Savings Time.

• Keep hydrants clear and accessible, in case firefighters should need access to it.

• For Clark’s sake, don’t overload any power outlets.

“Especially if you go ‘Christmas Vacation’-style and put too man into one jack, that can be very dangerous,” Wheeler said. “Leave it to the professionals.”

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