Countryside Fire Protection District hopes to 'Keep the Wreath Red'

"Keep the Wreath Red," originated in 1954 when the late Paul Boecker, a lieutenant with the Naperville Fire Department, came up with the idea to promote safety over the holiday season at the Naperville (Illinois) Fire Department and then adopted in 1980 by the Illinois Fire Chiefs Association. The program has yielded outstanding community results in our area. Countryside Fire Protection District has been participating for over 30 years.

The concept is simple, as most fire departments allow some degree of holiday decorations displayed at their stations. With "Keep the Wreath Red," each fire station displays a holiday wreath, large enough to be seen by passersby or vehicle traffic, and decorated in all red holiday lights. The lighted wreath is festive yet helps celebrate all of the diversity in our community during the holiday season - Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa.

Beginning just before Thanksgiving and through to the New Year, Countryside Fire Protection District informs the public that for every structure fire during the holidays related to decorations - one white light replaces a red light on the wreath at their neighborhood fire station. This piques the community's interest so that as citizens pass the station, they may see the wreath change color, hopefully the wreath keeps red.

The leading causes of holiday fires include cooking, candles, short circuits in decorative lights, combustible holiday decorations as well as fires in chimneys or caused by home-heating appliances, including electric or kerosene space heaters.

Practicing fire safety every day and through the holiday season is our goal. They recommend you watch what you heat, when you go out blow out the candles, check all holiday decorations for frayed wire and have UL approval. Also have your fireplace inspected and cleaned annually and keep any combustible object at least 3 feet away from heat sources such as the fire place and space heater.

Residents should have working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms on every level of their home. Create a fire escape plan a designated family meeting place in front of the home, such as the mailbox. It is recommended to have fire drill twice a year so your children know what to do and where to go if the smoke alarm sounds off.

A campaign like "Keep the Wreath Red" is just one way to help maintain a holiday fire safety presence with our community. Countryside Fire Protection District appreciates how attentive our residents become to our fire safety message once they find out that the wreath is more than just a holiday decoration on the station. For more information go to

Happy Holidays!

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