Check your chimney! Now is the time of year to check your fireplace chimney, before you have that first fire in the evening!
Every year fire departments respond to chimney fires in our communities. Homeowners should check their chimney for any signs of corrosion or deterioration. Chimneys should be cleaned and inspected at least once each year. Clean chimneys don’t catch fire!
Signs you have already had a chimney fire include:
“Puffy or “honey combed” creosote inside the chimney
Warped metal of the damper, metal connector pipe or factory built chimney
Cracked or collapsed flue tiles or tiles with large chunks missing
Discolored or distorted rain cap
Creosote flakes or pieces found on the roof or ground
Cracks in exterior masonry
Evidence of smoke escaping through motor joints
How to Discard Fireplace Ashes
The Upper Pine River Fire Department wants to remind everyone to use a metal can with a tight fitting lid for fireplace ashes.
Every year the department responds to fires started by improperly discarded fireplace ashes.
Tips for safely discarding your fireplace ashes:
Do not use plastic buckets, card board boxes, brown paper bags or trash cans for ashes.
Ashes can stay hot for many days or even a week.
Those ashes can ignite the wrong container when left outside where the wind blows.
Or even worse, they can ignite the container when left inside the home, resulting in the house catching on fire!
So stay safe and use the proper container for your ashes.
Smoke Alarms at Home
SMOKE ALARMS ARE A KEY PART of a home fire escape plan. Where there is a fire, smoke spreads fast. Working smoke alarms give you early warning so you can get outside quickly.
Install smoke alarms inside and outside each bedroom. Install alarms on every level of the house, including in the basement.
It is best to interconnect smoke alarms so when one alarm sounds they all sound. Replace batteries twice a year when you change your clocks.
Test all smoke alarms at least once a month. Press the test button to be sure the alarm is working.
There are two kinds of alarms, ionization smoke alarms are quicker to warn about flaming fires. Photoelectric alarms are quicker to warn about smoldering fires. It is best to use both types of alarms in the home. Some alarms will do both, so check to see if your alarms does both.
A smoke alarm should be on the ceiling or high on a wall. Do not place any closer than 10 inches from the corner where the wall meets the ceiling. Keep smoke alarms away from kitchen to reduce false alarms.
People who are hard-of-hearing or deaf can use special alarms that have strobe lights.
Replace smoke alarms when they are 10 years old.
Smoke alarms should be installed inside every bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level. Smoke alarms should be interconnected so when they sound, they all sound. Most older homes to not have this level of protection.
Roughly 2 out of 3 fire deaths happen in homes with no smoke alarms or smoke alarms that are not working.
Information in part from NFPA Safety @ www.nfpa.org/education
Defensible Space and the “Home Ignition Zone”
Research around home destruction vs. home survival in wildfires point to embers and small flames as the main way that the majority of homes ignite in wildfires. Embers are burning pieces of airborne wood and/or vegetation that can be carried more than a mile through the wind can cause spot fires and ignite homes, debris and other objects.