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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Not too early

Firefighters Bureau promotes safe Christmas celebrations

The Puerto Rico Firefighters Bureau’s “Safe Christmas” campaign has a TV commercial as a public service announcement, a radio ad, and content for social media platforms. (Photo by Richard Gutiérrez/The San Juan Daily Star)

By Richard Gutiérrez

While it’s not exactly time yet, as Mariah Carey would say before singing her hit single “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” Christmas is getting closer and closer, with November finally beginning on Wednesday.

With Christmas comes a long stretch of celebrations, which usually involve a lot of lighting to set up around the house. If the lighting isn’t handled properly, this could inevitably cause accidents that could cause irreparable damage to a house or even worse, to someone’s life.

That is why The Puerto Rico Firefighters Bureau (NCBPR by its Spanish initials is promoting safe Christmas celebrations through an ad campaign, which launched Wednesday. The campaign is known as “Safe Christmas,” which has a TV commercial as a public service announcement, a radio ad, and content for social media platforms. The announcement and launch of the public service announcement was provided via a press conference.

“We want a happy Christmas without incidents to regret due to a fire,” said NCBPR Commissioner Marcos Concepción Tirado at the press conference. “Last year in our visits to communities and shopping centers, citizens welcomed our message; that is why this year we are going out into the streets again with valuable advice that prevents fires from happening and tarnishing this very important celebration in Puerto Rico. Christmas is the time of year where we get together as a family to enjoy the holidays, so it is important to follow our recommendations.”

Public Safety Secretary Alexis Torres, who was also at the press conference, was asked if the same strategy was going to be used in other departments

“It doesn’t matter where this message comes from, what matters is that the message is conveyed so that everyone can learn from this message and people learn from their experiences so that they don’t happen again,” Torres said. “Every agency has their own work plan. I know many of them that have different campaigns, but I can say the Firefighters Bureau has been doing this since 2021, visiting many different places, and eventually, our ultimate goal would be to someday have a full-on caravan throughout the entire island.”

Why was the ad campaign delivered so long before Christmas? Concepción Tirado: “People in Puerto Rico tend to decorate a lot earlier. In later years we’ve had the campaign in the middle of November instead of the beginning. This year we are focusing on bringing the campaign a little earlier in the month, because we are certain that people start decorating for Christmas quite early in November.”

“We receive statistics every month; however, I am hoping that this campaign becomes a starting point to reduce the fires during Christmas,” the island fire chief added. “We are very much hoping for a change in that department.”

The firefighters shared plenty of advice regarding taking proper care, via the press conference and throughout the ad campaign, which has a rather enjoyable Puerto Rican Christmas feel to it and includes ample advice to people. For example: “If you use a gas stove to make your Christmas dinners, do not alter the cylinders, their seals and certification labels. Make sure that the cylinders purchased for exchange comply with the regulations, provide security to the tank area, and do not make homemade installations.”

Also: “When buying a natural Christmas tree, choose one with fresh, green needles that do not fall off. If the lights come into contact with a dry tree, it is very likely to cause a fire. In addition, remember that the tree must be watered every day.”

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