During the rush and preparation for the 2015 Holiday Season, as more and more decorations and lights appear throughout the district, one particular decoration holds a very important meaning – the wreaths that decorate the Fire Stations are lit with red light bulbs at the beginning of the holiday season.

If there is a fire in town relating to holiday decorations, a red bulb is replaced with a white bulb indicating that there has been a holiday-related fire in town.

It is the goal of the Harlem-Roscoe Fire Protection District, this year as every year in the past, to keep all of the bulbs red.

With that goal in mind, here are some holiday safety tips:

If you have purchased a freshly cut Christmas tree:

  • Cut one-quarter inch or more off the base of trunk if the Christmas tree has been harvested over 4 hours. This fresh cut will encourage the free flow of water into the tree to preserve freshness.
  • Display your Christmas tree in a cool place but out of a draft. Fireplaces can dry your tree prematurely.
  • Water, water, water. Christmas trees are very thirsty and will use up to a gallon of water each day. Check the stand each day for water  and don’t let the water ever go below the fresh cut base.

This will cause the base to seal and the tree to stop absorbing. When your tree stops drinking water—it’s time to remove it or discontinue lighting it.

Stringing holiday lights:

  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for connecting multiple strings. The general limit is three strings. Light strings with stacked plugs can usually accommodate greater lengths than end-to-end connections.
  • Replace burned-out bulbs promptly. Empty sockets can cause the entire string to overheat.
  • Make sure that the lights and extension cords you are stringing outside are rated for exterior use. Exterior lights, unlike those used inside the house; need to be weather-resistant. The same goes for any extension cords used outdoors.
  • Don’t use outdoor lights indoors. They’re too hot for interior use. For the coolest bulbs and greatest energy efficiency, try LED lights, which come in a wide range of styles and colors.
  • Don’t attach light strings with nails or staples. They can cut through the wire insulation and create a fire hazard. Only use UL-approved hangers.
  • Take exterior lights down within 90 days. The longer they stay up, the more likely they are to suffer damage from weather and critters chewing on them.
  • Store lights safely. Tangled lights can lead to damaged cords and broken sockets. After the holidays, coil each string loosely around a stiff piece of cardboard, wrap it in paper or fabric to protect the bulbs, and store in a sturdy container until next year.
  • Do not run cords underneath carpeting or throw rugs.
  • Always turn off interior holiday lights when leaving or going to sleep. Never leave unattended.

Make sure your fireplace is in good working order and the chimney is free from obstructions and creosote build-up. Christmas wrappings and tree branches are not to be burned in the fireplace. Their intense and rapid burning can cause chimney fires and flames to extend out of the firebox into your home.

If you have unused lights in poor condition you can recycle them at local metal recycling centers such as Erickson metals located in the district off Swanson Road or Behr Metals located just south of 251 and Roosevelt in Machesney Park.FD Wreath






Courtesy photo

Harlem-Roscoe Fire Dept. is decorated with a red wreath, and If there is a fire in town relating to holiday decorations, a red bulb is replaced with a white bulb indicating that there has been a holiday-related fire in town.

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