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The original item was published from 12/10/2014 10:00:20 AM to 1/11/2015 12:10:00 AM.

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Posted on: December 10, 2014

[ARCHIVED] Make Safety A Priority With Holiday Decorations

Not sure what to get a Geneva firefighter for the holidays? The simple thought of holiday decoration safety in homes and businesses makes the perfect gift.

Each year, the Fire Department participates in the Keep the Wreath Red campaign, which serves as a constant reminder to make safety a priority when installing and displaying holiday decorations. Firefighters place a wreath decorated in red lights in front of both fire stations that remain lit 24 hours a day during the holiday season. Whenever a fire occurs that is a result of holiday decorations, a white bulb replaces a red bulb on the wreath.

While the wreath stayed red in 2013, Geneva has experienced fires in the past stemming from holiday décor. A candle placed on a fireplace mantel ignited some decorative roping and a wreath. In a different incident, a family left a candle burning overnight that later started a fire between the mantel and wall.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, December is the peak month for home candle fires. More than half of these incidents are started by candles while the other half occur when holiday decorations are left too close to a heat source.

Here are some tips on how residents can keep their home safe for the holidays:

Holiday Lights – Inspect holiday lights each year for frayed wires, bare spots and excessive kinking or wear before hanging them. Connect strings of lights to an extension cord before plugging the cord into the outlet. Keep all electrical wiring out of walkways or places where they may become pinched or worn. Read the packaging for all lights to be sure not to overload electrical circuits.

Candles – Consider using battery operated flameless candles, which can look, smell and feel like the real thing. For those using lit candles, make sure they are in stable holders and placed out of the reach of both children and pets. Do not leave lit candles unattended.

Trees – Christmas trees need to be adequately watered so they do not become a potential fire hazard. Cut about 2 inches of the trunk to expose the fresh wood for better water absorption. Place the tree away from heat sources.

Miscellaneous – Use only nonflammable decorations, or flame retardant ones. Do not place wrapping paper in the fireplace because the paper can produce dangerous sparks or chemical buildup that could cause an explosion. Finally, do not block a home’s address with outdoor decorations.

If residents have questions or concerns regarding fire safety this holiday season, please call the Geneva Fire Department at 630-232-2530.

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