Keep the Wreath Green campaign begins
For Hub City Times
MARSHFIELD – Thanksgiving and Christmas are supposed to be joyous, not tragic times of the year. So to help keep the holidays happy, local fire departments around the area are participating in a “Keep the Wreath Green” campaign to raise awareness about preventing fires during the upcoming holidays.
Marshfield Fire Chief Scott Owen says every participating station displays a wreath between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve, and when there’s a structure fire in their area, a red bulb replaces a green one.
“Right now the wreath is full of green bulbs, but anytime there is a structure fire within Wood County, a green bulb is replaced by a red bulb,” Owen said.
And every wreath also contains one special bulb in memory of fallen firefighters. “There’s also a white bulb at the top of the wreath, and that is in remembrance of all of the firefighters who have died in the line of duty,” he added.
Around Thanksgiving, kitchen or cooking-related fires are usually the most common.
“The biggest thing to remember, keep kids away from the stove, make sure towels are not on top of the stove,” Owen said. “Make sure the pots and pans have handles that are turned inward so that nobody can grab them. If you’re going to deep-fry a turkey, do so very, very carefully.”
In case of a grease fire, Owen says your best bet is to smother the fire with a lid, rather than using water or a fire extinguisher.
It’s also an important time to keep other common sense fire safety measures in mind to prevent fires from ruining the holiday season.
“The big thing is using common sense,” Owen said. “Making sure that we’re not plugging too much into outlets, that we’re not putting cords underneath rugs. And if people have properly maintained their chimneys, properly maintained their furnaces, we’re hoping to not have to interact with them.”
Space heaters are another major source of fires. Those should be kept at least three feet from other objects and plugged directly into wall receptacles, not into power strips or extension cords.
Last year, the Wood County “Keep the Wreath Green” campaign ended with three red bulbs on the wreath. That’s down from the previous year, when there were eight red bulbs on the wreath after the 2017 holiday season.
Other central Wisconsin fire departments usually participating in the “Keep the Wreath Green” campaign include Wausau and Stevens Point. Chief Owen says all fire departments in Wood County participate every year.