The Town of Hilton Head Fire and Rescue Division is using one of the symbols of the season to remind residents of the importance of fire safety.
The department’s “Keep The Wreath Green” program is in it’s ninth year.
From Thanksgiving Day to New Year’s Day, the fire department displays an 8-foot wreath covered with green lights outside of Station 3 on the island. Whenever the department responds to a preventable fire, a red or white light is lighted on the wreath. Preventable fires are typically caused by human error and include cooking fires, brush fires, electrical fires and Christmas tree fires.
The Burton Fire Department also displays a wreath, and has done so since 2007.
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“We would like to think it makes a difference due to the drop in holiday fires. Seeing a red bulb stands out and is a reminder to people that fires are occurring and the need for safety,” Dan Byrne, public information officer for the Burton Fire Department, said.
Both departments have seen a decrease in the number of preventable fires since implementing the program.
In 2012, Hilton Head Island had 18 recorded preventable fires, significantly more than the six that they responded to in 2016. So far this year, the Hilton Head department has responded to two preventable fires, both of which were cooking fires.
Burton had eight recorded fires in 2012 and two in 2016.
The most common fires that local fire departments respond to are cooking fires.
“More cooking occurs during the holiday season and unfortunately that leads to more fires located in the kitchen,” Capt. John Robinson, safety and training officer with the Beaufort Fire Department said.
Christmas tree fires also pose a seasonal danger.
While the Burton Department has not responded to a Christmas tree this year, Byrne he said such fires “are extremely dangerous and deadly and a risk to all who have a Christmas tree in their home.”
To follow along to see how many preventable fires occur in the area this holiday season, check out their digital wreath or swing by the Station 3 fire house.