SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA)– The State Fire Marshal wants to avoid losing anyone else to a fire this holiday season.
Five people in Illinois have died in a fire this month alone.
The fire marshal hopes seeing a representation of lives lost will help put an end to the deaths.
The majority of the lights on the wreath outside of the State Fire Marshal’s Office are red and the State Fire Marshal’s Office wants it to stay that way.
The office is promoting the #KeeptheWreathRed campaign to show people the impact and frequency of fire-related deaths in the state.
To raise awareness, the office places a clear bulb in the wreath whenever a fire-related death takes place. “We want to keep all the lights red on the wreath. These bulbs represent someone’s life that has been lost because of a fire related incident,” said JC Fultz, Public Information Officer for the Office of the Illinois Fire Marshal. “This is an actual person, this is someone’s relative, their neighbor, their friend. It’s not just coming out and changing a bulb.”
The campaign started in the 1950s in Naperville but this season, Illinois is off to deadly start. “This year in the state of Illinois, we have had five fire-related fatalities so far since December 1st,” Fultz said.
The office is reminding you to be aware of some of the decorations used to deck the halls.
“Wreaths or artificial trees, make sure they are rated as flame-retardant or fire resistant. Those are going to help to mitigate any fire risk in your house. When you are putting up lights, make sure the light have some kind of logo on it from a certified laboratory,” said Fultz.
Experts also advise you to check the light strings for any broken lights or frayed wired. If you see those they recommend you throw them out.
BLH Computers in Central Illinois will actually help you dispose of those lights the right way.
“If the light doesn’t work, you try to make it work. Realize it didn’t work for a reason and there is no point in putting a fire on top of your house, it’s a bad idea to put them on the tree. If they don’t work, they don’t work for a reason. They are very inexpensive, they have almost become a throwaway item. Just being them on in and have them recycled, that way you won’t put yourself at risk,” said Brian Dickerson, President and General Manager of BLH Computers.
BLH has locations in Springfield, Taylorville and Jacksonville where you can drop off the lights for free recycling. The Wreath at the Fire Marshal’s office will stay up until January 2, 2020.