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Peoria Fire Department's 'Keep the Wreath Red' campaign promotes fire safety this holiday season

Division Chief of Fire Prevention Nate Rice stands in front of the Peoria Fire Central Station's Christmas wreath.
Camryn Cutinello
/
WCBU
Division Chief of Fire Prevention Nate Rice stands in front of the Peoria Fire Central Station's Christmas wreath.

The Peoria Fire Department is urging people to follow fire safety tips during the holiday season.

The department's 12 fire stations are taking part in the "Keep the Wreath Red" program. Each station has a wreath with 25 lights. For each fire incident which happens during the month of December, one light get's replaced with a white one.

Division Chief of Fire Prevention Nate Rice said around 50% of fires are cause by cooking accidents.

"Too many people will put something on the stove walk away and the next thing they know they have they have a real problem," he said.

Rice said space heaters can also cause fires.

"If it's too close to a blanket or too close to a fellow or somebody throws their newspaper down and it lands right beside the space heater," Rice said. "Those are things that we see."

The department responded to 18 fire related incidents during last year's campaign. They results in $1,586,800 in estimated damages and no civilian injuries.

Christmas decorations can also cause fires when proper precautions aren't followed.

For anyone with a real Christmas tree, Rice recommends watering it often. He says lights and dried out trees can cause fires.

Extension cords and power strips should also be handles properly.

"So the biggest thing with extension cords is, first of all, don't overload them," Rice said. "And then don't do what we call daisy chaining. So basically don't use numerous extension cords altogether. It's kind of like seeing the power strip and then the extension cord, plugging in the power strip, and then another extension cord plugged into that one."

People should also check their lights for frays or nicks in the insulation covering, and replace any bulbs that are out.

Camryn Cutinello is a reporter at WCBU. You can reach Camryn at cncutin@ilstu.edu.