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Red Cross urges practicing home fire safety during the holidays

Published: Nov. 26, 2021 at 5:58 PM CST
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - After multiple fires in the area this week, the American Red Cross of Wisconsin wants to remind the community of holiday fire safety tips.

The American Red Cross says compared to any other time of year, right now is the biggest period of time that most fires take place.

“We see an increase in the rate of fires from one a day to three a day once the holidays are here,” said Nicole Sandler, Red Cross volunteer.

As Action 2 News reported, on Tuesday alone, we had four fires in the Green Bay and Fox Valley areas.

“In the month of November which is not even finished yet, the Red Cross has helped over 260 people who have been displaced from fires across the state of Wisconsin,” said Sandler.

One of those cooking fires displaced one adult and eight children on Ashland Avenue in Green Bay.

“It’s sadly a really good example of what happens this time of year,” said Sandler.

The Red Cross is now helping the family of nine.

“We continue to be there for them day by day, moving forward, again like I said with lodging, with meals, with prescription drugs, any other essentials that those children need,” Sandler explained.

A few safety tips from fire officials and the American Red Cross:

  • Stay in the kitchen while you are cooking
  • Keep your countertops clear around your stove or oven from anything flammable while you are cooking
  • Make sure all smoke alarms are working
  • Use a screen in your fireplace and fully extinguish the fire before you turn in for the night
  • Water real Christmas trees every day, because dry needles and wood catch fire more easily

“Make sure you’re not using extension cords, if you can by all means avoid it, just because extension cords are not the greatest because they take the most beating out of any household appliance that we would use,” said Lt. Shauna Walesh of the Green Bay Metro Fire Department.

“Probably one of the most important tips of all, always be sure to turn off those lights, turn anything off electrical on your tree when you leave your house, or when you go to sleep for the night. That’s unfortunately a big cause of fires this time of year,” said Sandler.

As we’ve reported, Green Bay Metro firefighters will be hanging holiday wreaths on all fire stations this week.

The wreaths start with all green lights, but for every home fire that happens through the end of the year, one light will change to red.

“Followed by Thanksgiving, Christmas and Christmas Eve are the next two largest days with home/residential fires, with the largest cause being cooking-related,” said Lt. Walesh.

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