What do the red and green lights on the wreath at the Roswell Fire Department mean?

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ROSWELL — The Roswell Fire Department is using a wreath as a symbol to raise awareness of holiday fires and is urging residents to “keep the wreath green.”

As the holiday season approaches, temperatures drop, and family and friends gather together, the number of structure fires increases. Many are started unintentionally by cooking, candles, space heaters, decorations, and the improper use of electrical cords.


During the month of December, the Roswell Fire Department will display a wreath lit with green light bulbs at special events throughout the City and the Roswell Fire Department Headquarters at 1810 Hembree Road. Whenever a structure fire occurs in the City of Roswell, a green light bulb will be replaced by a red light bulb.

According to the National Fire Protection Association:

  • Between 2015 and 2019, holiday decorations (excluding Christmas trees) started an average of 790 home structure fires across the United States each year. These fires caused an annual average of one civilian fire death, 26 civilian fire injuries, and $13 million in property damage.
  • Electrical distribution or lighting equipment was involved in almost one-half of the home Christmas tree fires. Decorative lights started nearly one-in-five Christmas tree fires.
  • Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires, followed by Christmas Day and Christmas Eve.
  • Year-round, more than one-third (35%) of home decoration fires were started by candles. This jumped to almost one-half in December when candles started 45% of such fires. Cooking started one-fifth (19%) of decoration fires.

“Having a fire in your home can be devastating. Many of the fires we respond to can be easily prevented. With everyone’s help, we can keep the wreath completely green this year,” Roswell Fire Chief Joe Pennino said. “Following these safety tips will significantly reduce the potential for holiday-related fires, ensuring a happy, safe, and fire-safe holiday season for everyone in Roswell.”

Below are some of the safety tips.

  • Use decorations that are flame-resistant or flame-retardant.
  • Keep lit candles and heat sources at least three feet away from combustible materials.
  • Keep children and pets away from lit candles, and keep matches and lighters up high in a locked cabinet.
  • Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections. Read the manufacturer’s instructions for the number of light strands to connect.
  • Stay in the kitchen when cooking.
  • Keep decorations away from windows or doors to ensure you have a safe secondary exit in case of an emergency.
  • Test your smoke alarms and tell guests about your home fire escape plan.

Additional information on how you can stay safe during the holidays can be found online at www.nfpa.org/education.