Once again the Russell Fire Department has given me; Santa Claus, the opportunity to be a guest writer for their weekly column just before Christmas. This is this the third year in a row that I have done this, and combined with all the letters I answer I feel that I am becoming quite the wordsmith. As I mentioned, most of my writing consists of answering letters to children from around the world, but this opportunity allows me to partner with the Russell Fire Department to address something that really does concern me, the safety of people. As you all know I visit millions of homes every Christmas Eve, actually this year we are scheduled to visit; 992,001,012 wait a minute two more homes were just added in Orleans. So needless to say I see a lot of different homes and to be honest some of the things I see do make me shudder. One of the things I see during Christmas is people putting extension chords under rugs to hide them, most of the time the extension chord is for the Christmas tree. This is a really bad idea, people walking on the rug could damage the chord and you would never know it happened, a frayed extension chord is a real fire hazard. Another thing I sometimes see is homes without enough smoke alarms, I sometimes even see homes without any at all! If there is something that really makes me sad is seeing homes without smoke alarms, I know that if there are not any smoke alarms in a home then this family is really risking their lives. Unfortunately some of the worst offenders for not having enough smoke alarms are older people, so I am going to ask all the children and adults of Russell to give me a gift this year. I want everyone to visit their parents or grandparents this year and check their smoke alarms. Make sure they have one on each level of the home and that they all work. Also if you find that the smoke alarms are over 10 years old, give them the gift of a new one – and install it too. If everyone could do this for me that would be one of the best gifts I ever received.
Lastly I would like to remind everyone that I will be visiting Russell on Christmas Eve for the Santa Express and this will be my 30th Anniversary of doing so. I certainly love flying around the world on my magic sleigh, but who doesn’t like riding on a fire truck. I would like to thank the Russell Fire Department and all the past members who have kept this tradition alive over the last 30 years. So make sure you come out to see me and try to make my Christmas Merry by giving me the gift of looking after your parents and grandparents. Merry Christmas!