During the holiday seasons, pedestrians and driver�s alike start to notice large holiday wreaths outside of their fire departments, with signs and banners requesting everyone to work together to Keep the Wreath Red! Of course, it helps to know what this tradition is, and how everyone can work together and help us to accomplish this goal.

The Keep the Wreath Red program was the brainchild of a 23 year old part-time Lieutenant in nearby Naperville back in 1954. Paul Boecker, who would eventually rise to the position of Chief in the neighbouring fire department of Lisle-Woodridge before retiring, thought of a simple way to remind people to be safe during the holiday season. A large wreath, adorned with red bulbs would be placed in front of firehouses. If the community suffered a fire a bulb would be changed from red to white, but most importantly it was a prompt to people to be fire safe with holiday decorations, responsible with their celebrations, and attentive to their holiday cooking and baking. His idea was adopted by the Illinois Fire Chief�s Association in 1980 and has since become a principle educational tool for the fire service.

We live in very different times today, of course. The wreath bulbs (as well as many holiday lights) are LED now, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors help give us advance notice of impending emergencies, and people in general are more aware of the dangers of candles burning in the house and watering live trees. Our message has adapted as well. We want everyone to enjoy the holidays without tragedy. What can you do to help us? Check those smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors if you didn�t when daylight saving occurred. Candle with care in and around the house, particularly during power outages. Although new technologies make electrical hazards less likely, don�t assume you�re safe. Don�t overload outlets or power outlets. Always follow the manufacturer�s recommendations for use and look for the Underwriter�s Laboratory stamp (UL) on new or replacement items.

Keep the Wreath Red this season, stay safe and enjoy all the way into the New Year!