With winter officially here, the Carpentersville Fire Department has started an initiative to emphasize winter fire awareness called "Put a Freeze on Winter Fires and Keep the Wreath Red."
When you drive past one of the three fire stations, you'll see a wreath with red light bulbs in it. Every time there's a holiday-related a fire, personnel will replace a red bulb with a white bulb.
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Carpentersville has not had any such fires thus far. "Our wreaths are still completely red," Fire Chief John Schuldt said.
Every winter, an estimated 108,400 home fires occur in the United States, resulting in approximately 945 deaths and $1.7 billion in property loss, officials said.
Officials say cooking is the leading cause of winter fires in the home and that holiday decorations and winter storms sometimes make people use alternative heating sources, like space heaters, which comprise a third of home heating fires and about 80 percent of home heating fire deaths.
To that end, the department is also issuing several fire safety tips to help you keep your home free of fires:
• Stay in the kitchen while cooking something on the stove or while grilling
or broiling food.
• Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from space heaters,
wood stoves, and the like.
• Replace damaged electrical or extension cords.
• Never use the oven or stovetop to heat a home, as carbon monoxide gas can kill people and pets.
• Don't put a live Christmas tree up too early or leave it up for longer than two
weeks. Keep the tree stand filled with water.
• Avoid using lighted candles -- try flameless candles instead.
Please be careful out there and have a wonderful holiday season.
• Lenore T. Adkins covers Carpentersville, the Dundees, Huntley, Hampshire and Sleepy Hollow. To reach her, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call (847) 608-2725.