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"Keep the Wreaths Blue" Campaign Looks to Prevent Structure Fires

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (18 NEWS) - The Schuyler County Office of Emergency Management is almost through their 14th Annual "Keep the Wreaths Blue" Campaign; an effort that looks to increase awareness and prevent structure fires during the holiday season.

"We start the Friday after Thanksgiving and run through Dec. 31," Schuyler County Emergency Management Director Bill Kennedy said. "Anytime there's a structure fire within the county we change a blue bulb to red."

Kennedy said they've only changed two bulbs so far.
"Two matches our best year ever," he said. "Typically we end up with five to eight, we've had as many as eight but were usually right around five. So hopefully we get through the rest of the week with just two."

But Schuyler County Fire Departments respond to more structure fires during the holidays than any other time of year.
"Whether it's people are home more or cooking more, or winter itself, they're trying to keep their homes warm," Kennedy said.

And with the forecast calling for temperatures well below average for the next week, many may look for supplemental ways to heat their homes.

Kennedy said it's imperative that homeowners take proper precautions beforehand.
"If they're using electrical devices, electric heaters don't use an extension cord, keep things clear of them," he said. "If they're using kerosene heaters in the house make sure they get them outside to refuel them. And they just need to use what's recommended, if they're using wood burning appliances make sure they keep it clear around those and keep their chimneys clean."

For more tips on how to prevent structure fires, follow this link.

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