“This year, we were fortunate throughout the entire holiday season; we didn’t have a single structure fire,” says Interim Fire Marshal Dace Bergen. “So, we’re really happy about that.”
Each year, the Fire Department places a wreath covered in green bulbs on Fire Station No. 1, and—with every structure fire that takes place—replaces a green bulb with a red one.
“The whole idea of it is to raise fire safety awareness during the holidays,” Bergen says. “We’ve always been pretty fortunate in Chapel Hill in terms of the number of structure fires that we have in December, which is actually a little lower than the national average. So, every year we try to raise fire safety awareness through that Keep the Wreath Green program.”
Bergen says the Fire Department does its part all year to stay active in the community in preventing fires, not just putting those out that occur. However, he says without the community buying in to it, the job isn’t complete.
“A lot of times it’s just being aware, being cognizant, and thinking about fire safety that will stop fires from happening,” Bergen says.