According to South Carolina State Fire Marshal statistics, November through March is the most dangerous time of year for South Carolina residents, and the Burton Fire District has wrapped up its Santa programs with what officials say was a tremendous success.
This holiday season, starting Nov. 27, the Burton Fire District began its annual Santa programs by putting up Santa mailboxes at all five of its fire stations. Burton firefighters participate in the mailbox program to help local children communicate directly with Santa Claus, and in just three weeks, firefighters processed just fewer than 100 letters from local children.
Following the mailbox program, on Dec. 1, the Burton Fire District started its annual Santa Ride program where firefighters drive Santa through all Beaufort County communities within the Burton district.
Burton firefighters have been driving Santa around for more than 25 years, bringing candy and fire safety messages to local families. This year, the Burton Fire District was able to reach more than 2,500 citizens within the Burton Fire District, bringing not only holiday cheer, but some holiday safety as well.
“Many people have told us that seeing Santa on our fire trucks is what officially starts their family holiday,” Burton Fire District Chief Harry Rountree said in a release.
While all the fun and holiday cheer that these programs bring is important, the underlying safety messages that they bring are equally important, said Chief Rountree.
“This year, from Nov. 27 to Dec. 26, we only had one house fire, and a smoke alarm and a fire extinguisher used by the family saved the home from serious damages,” Rountree said. “So whether it’s our messages or that just by seeing us it serves as a reminder to be safe, it seems to be working.”
During this same holiday time period, Burton firefighters also completed more than 18 building inspections, and conducted 12 education events in two elementary schools, reaching more than 200 children in pre-kindergarten and kindergarten classes.