LEBANON, Pa. (WHTM) – House fires are common this time of the year. 30 percent of all home fires and 38 percent of home fire deaths happen in the months of December, January, and February, according to the National Fire Protection Association.
A local fire department is finding a creative way to spread a fire prevention message. Six wreaths are now up around Lebanon. They’re lit up with red lights, but one is white.
“Today we placed the wreath on the market,” Lebanon Fire Commissioner Duane Trautman said. “There’s wreaths on the four city fire houses, as well as Mel’s Diner on East Cumberland Street.”
Trautman saw the Keep the Wreaths Red campaign in another city and wants to send a message to those who live in and around Lebanon.
“The message is fire safety over the holidays and certainly throughout the year,” Trautman said.
One of the wreaths is up at the Lebanon Farmers Market.
“The idea is to hang wreaths at various locations around Lebanon and from the fire houses, light them up red, and every time there’s a fire in area, to change one of the bulbs from red to white,” said Joya Morrissey, owner of the Lebanon Farmers Market.
The one white light is for a fire on Wednesday.
“It was a classic fire, a space heater on the end of two insufficient extension cords,” Trautman said.
Trautman has three tips to prevent starting a fire in your home.
“Mind the use of extension cords,” Trautman said. “Don’t insulate them. Don’t curl them up, coil them up, or tie them up. Don’t put them under rugs and carpets. Don’t give them a chance to heat up because that’s where the problem is.”
The second tip is to make sure to water your Christmas tree and throw it away when it’s dry. On average, 260 home fire start with Christmas trees in the United States each year causing 12 deaths, 24 injuries, and $16.4 million in damage, according to the Electrical Safety Foundation International.
The third tip is practice caution while smoking, and don’t overload your ashtray.
“Smoking is a big one. This year has been very costly,” Trautman said. “If there’s 20, 30, 40 cigarette butts in an ash tray, there’s fuel there to ignite.”
“This is a special time of year for everybody, and nobody wants to see anyone, our neighbors, our friends, our family, have any kind of tragedy of a fire,” Lebanon City Councilman Wayne Carey said.