With the advent season, the risk of house fires increases due to unsupervised or fallen candles on wreaths or Christmas trees. Prevention of a different kind is provided by comedian and inventor Stefan Heuss.

Christmas trees are an enormous risk of fire – comedian Hess shows how to prevent that.

That's what it's all about

  • On average, every ten days, a candle burns in the canton of St. Gallen, causing building damage.

  • Especially in the Advent season, the danger is great because of Christmas trees, among other things.

  • Tinkerer Stefan Heuss has another suitable invention ready for this problem.

A gift that you want to save: Burning Advent wreaths or Christmas trees: comedian Stefan Heuss has invented a device that is supposed to prevent a Christmas tree fire – the Christmas tree grinder. As part of a prevention campaign by the building insurance company St. Gallen, Heuss makes an entertaining appearance – as is so often the case in the former SRF format Giacobbo/Müller. With his milling machine, he brings the Christmas tree into an “ideal, regularly tapering cone shape”. Thus none of the candles attached to the lower branches threatens to set fire to the branches above.

“Of course you have to make sure that the topic is not ridiculed,” says Natalie Koller, Head of Communication at the St. Gallen Buildings Insurance. Because it is actually serious: in the canton of St. Gallen there are an average of 37 fires in connection with candles over the ten years – including Christmas trees and Advent wreaths. In other words: every ten days a candle burns and there is damage to the building – in 2020 the amount of damage in the canton was CHF 475,000.

The awareness campaign is intended to raise awareness of fire and natural hazards in a humorous way. There are other short films with Stefan Heuss in which he presents inventions for protection against floods and kitchen fires. “The campaign is well received and we haven't seen any negative comments so far,” said Koller.

Man injured because of a burning Christmas tree

As an alternative to wax candles, LED candles have become established in Switzerland, writes the advice center for fire prevention. Real candles should never be left unattended and should not be placed near children or animals. A fireproof base provides additional protection.

On December 26th, 2020 there was an apartment fire in Rorschacherberg because an Advent wreath caught fire. The property damage amounted to more than 100,000 francs. On December 25 of the same year, the St. Gallen canton police received a report about a burning Christmas tree in Bernhardzell. A 67-year-old man had to be taken to hospital with burns.

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By Teresa Tapmleton

Teresa Tampleton has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Nizh TEkegram, Teresa Tampleton worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teresa@ntelegram.com 1-800-268-7341

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