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'Keep the Wreath Green' Seeks To Prevent Fires

As of Monday, Dec. 1, Escambia County Fire Rescue and the City of Pensacola are again teaming up for the 11th annual “Keep the Wreath Green” holiday fire safety campaign.

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, about 400 lives are lost and more than 1,600 people injured in holiday fires each year. Damages total around $1 billion.

Through “Keep the Wreath Green,” Lt. Daniel Akerman at Escambia Fire Rescue says their goal each holiday season, is putting off as long as possible what appears to be the inevitable.

For every residential blaze or wildfire, a red bulb replaces one of the green on the five-foot wreaths on display at 21 county fire stations. Last year, there were 13 fires during the month-long campaign.

Akerman says in these parts, the most common cause of a home fire this time of year is a faulty or misused space heater. The open flame of an ignored candle is another cause of seasonal fires. And then there are kitchen accidents – a year-round hazard, but one more prevalent during the holidays – especially when people wander off and leave cooking unattended.

For many, a live Christmas tree is part of their holiday celebration. Akerman says before making the purchase, check the tree for freshness by seeing to it the needles don’t fall or break off at the touch. Also make sure the lights going onto the tree are in good working order. Replace any faulty or overheating lights, damaged wires, and power cords.

Daily safety tips throughout the month of December can be found at keepthewreathgreen.com.

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