It's unfortunate, but the holiday season ranks high in regards to fire risk - eclipsing most other times of the year.  The combination of decorations, trees, candles, space heaters, and more combine to create potentially risky situations.

That's why local Northland fire fighters usually band together to promote fire safety during the Christmas and New Years holidays. If we can  maintain a level of awareness, perhaps some of those risk factors can be muted.

Firefighters in the Town of Superior have a visual way of promoting fire safety practices - something they've been doing now for eight years.  It's the annual Keep the Wreath Green Campaign.  Details of how it works are explained in an article in the Superior Telegram [paywall]:

"A wreath hung on the Town of Superior Fire Hall along U.S. Highway 35 is lit with green bulbs.  If a residential fire occurs in Douglas County between November 25 and January 2, one of the green bulbs will change to red."

As the article points out - the "key to keeping them green is prevention".

interior christmas. magic glowing tree, fireplace and gifts
evgenyatamanenko
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While holiday decorations contribute to the increased fire risk during this time of year, the top two leading causes are necessities:  cooking and heating.  "Nearly half of all home heating fires occur in December, January, and February - according to the National Fire Protection Association".

In regards to holiday decorations and fire safety concerns, here are some reminders direct from Town of Superior Fire Chief Darryl Fiegle:

  • Make sure that holiday decorations are flame-retardant or not flammable
  • Check holiday lights for frayed wires, burnt out bulbs, and missing insulation
  • Don't connect more than three strands of holiday lights together
  • Never leave a burning candle unattended.  These days, a variety of battery-operated flameless candles are available for your decorating needs
  • Make sure that real Christmas trees are watered on a regular basis.  Daily is best
  • Maintain that there is space between a real Christmas tree and heat sources - or other ignition sources

Two items that should be in every home that can help contribute to a fie safety measures are a working fire extinguisher and a working smoke detector.  And if one of each is good more is better.  The winter season is a great time to have those fire extinguishers checked and re-charged - or replaced if needed, and it's also the time of year to replace the batteries in the smoke detectors.

Firewoman in fire protection suit and mask
Jasmina81
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Additionally, it's worth noting that both of those items - fire extinguishers and smoke detectors have lifespans.  They won't last forever and should be replaced with new ones according to manufacturers recommendations.

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