CEDAR RAPIDS, IA – Firefighters are hoping to keep a wreath displayed over the front doors of the Central Fire Station, 713 1st Avenue SE, decorated in red bulbs through New Year’s Day. The wreath display is a Community Risk Reduction program to remind citizens of the importance of fire prevention, particularly from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day when the number of residential fires increase significantly throughout the United States.
The wreath is displayed prominently at the Central Fire Station entrance along 1st Avenue East where over 30,000 vehicles pass each day. Firefighters will replace a red bulb with a white bulb for each residential fire that occurs during the holiday season. The goal is to keep the wreath illuminated with all red bulbs.
Firefighters hope that the wreath is a visual reminder that the period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day can be a dangerous time for fires in the home. Typically, there is a disproportionate number of cooking fires, candle fires, short circuits in holiday lights, and combustible holiday decoration fires during this time. Further, because the temperatures continue to get colder, there are more chimney fires and fires caused by home-heating appliances like electric or kerosene space heaters.
The “Keep the Wreath Red” campaign reminds citizens to be safe when it comes to holiday lights, candle use, chimney fires, space heaters, and power strips. In addition, the Fire Department wants to make sure citizens are checking to make sure their smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms are working properly.
According to Firefighter Jason Aarhus, who was one of the firefighters who championed the “Keep the Wreath Red” campaign, “Thousands of people pass Central Fire Station each day and many of them will glance over to look at the wreath and will notice if any of the red bulbs have changed to white. That action, even if just a fraction of a second, may subconsciously prompt a reminder to citizens of our holiday fire safety message. It also is a reminder that fires are always possible during the holidays, and the Cedar Rapids Fire Department will be there when needed.”
Updates to the “Keep the Wreath Red” campaign will be posted on the Fire Department’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/cedarrapidsfiredepartment.