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WNIJ's summary of news items around our state.

'Keep the Wreath Red' Campaign Tries To Prevent Holiday Fires

Peter Medlin
Sandwich Community Fire Protection District

Red wreaths hang from many fire departments across the state from Thanksgiving to New Year's Day.


For every dry Christmas tree that catches fire, a red light on the wreath flips from red to white. The same goes for holiday lights that spark. The goal is to keep as many of the lights red as possible.

The wreaths hang as part of the “Keep the Wreath Red” program. It’s been around for over 70 years promoting fire safety during the holidays, reminding people to keep Christmas trees watered and an eye on their lights.

The campaign seems to be paying off in Sandwich. Lieutenant Zachary Morel says they haven’t had a holiday-related fire in his seven years at the station.

Like many small communities, Sandwich relies on volunteer firefighters. About 35 staff the station, with day jobs ranging from carpenter to salesman.

“And some guys do this full-time somewhere else, like myself," said Morel. "I work full-time at another department, and just wanted to continue to give back to my community because this is where I started out.”

Morel also points out that volunteering means they sometimes get pulled away from family during the holidays, but he says it’s what he signed up for.

“So it’s a lot harder on them than it is on us," he said. "If we’re available then we show up -- no matter what. We can be in the middle of Christmas dinner with our families and that phone goes off, we’re responding.”