Temple Fire & Rescue has come up with a creative way to keep fire safety top of mind this holiday season. They're challenging us all to 'Keep the Wreath Red'.

Here's how it works.

Temple Fire & Rescue will display a beautiful holiday wreath decorated with red lights outside of the Central Fire Station at 210 North 3rd Street. If a holiday related fire occurs, they'll replace one of the red lights with a white one.

The goal is to keep the entire wreath red through January 1, 2021.

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TF&R's Santos Soto shared some fire safety tips to help make that happen:

  • If you have a fresh Christmas tree, keep it well watered.
  • Keep live trees away from heat sources.
  • Inspect holiday lights for damaged cords or plugs.
  • Do not overload lighting circuits.
  • Extinguish candles when you leave home or go to sleep at night.
  • Keep candles in containers that prevent them from falling.
  • Make sure your smoke detectors are functioning properly.

According to data from the National Fire Prevention Association, fire departments in the U.S. responded to an average of 160 home fires that started with a Christmas tree each year between 2014 and 2018. Almost half of those fires involved electrical and lighting equipment, and over 1/5th were were caused by a heat source like a candle being too close to the tree.

This video from the NFPA shows how quickly an unwatered Christmas tree can become engulfed in flames and start burning out of control, and how much more fire resistant a tree can be when it's properly watered.

I don't want to scare anyone by sharing this. I just want to pass along the info so we can all have a bright, warm Christmas season that only involves cozy fires, not blazing infernos.