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Fire District urges home safety preparation for the winter posted on 12/01/2021

While the mention of a chimney sweep can frequently bring to mind the movie “Mary Poppins,” a proper chimney cleaning can help prevent a chimney fire, which can rapidly develop into a fire that effects the structure of the building.

 

Each year approximately 25,000 chimney fires are reported nationwide and cause millions of dollars of damage to homes, thousands of injuries and many deaths.

“We recommend you clean your chimney at least twice a year. Creosote can really build up quickly,” Hoodland Fire District Chief Jim Price said. “We’ve already had a couple chimney fires this fall and we expect a few more heading into the winter.”

HFD residents can borrow chimney brushes from the district’s main station in Welches as community members begin to spend more time indoors and rely on their chimneys for warmth and comfort during the cold winter months. The program is offered by the HFD for free in an effort to prevent chimney fires in the district.

Creosote is a highly flammable residue that builds up inside the chimney as a byproduct of burning wood. When the sticky, black or brown material builds up in sufficient quantities and is exposed to high enough flue temperatures a chimney fire can occur.

Residents are advised to measure the inside of their chimney pipes before coming to the station during business hours to borrow an appropriately sized brush and six-foot extension rod. A photo I.D. and the completion of a check-out form is required to borrow a brush. Instructions for using the brushes are available online on the HFD website.

The district also offers to install reflective address markers for residents whose driveways are not currently marked in an effort to facilitate quick emergency response times.

“One of the things that slows us down the most is finding the house,” Chief Price said. “Most of our calls are in-house medicals, and we have lots of elderly and vulnerable populations.”

Residents can order the materials for the markers from the district for $25. The markers will be assembled and installed by HFD at no additional charge.

Chief Price added that the district has many residences on unmarked, long and treelined driveways.

“The markers are a value to us. It makes (responding to an emergency) a lot easier when minutes count, seconds count,” he said.

The address marker will be installed at the end of the driveway so that it is easy to see from a distance. Markers can be ordered on HFD’s website and will take four to six weeks for delivery and installation.

More information about both home safety programs is available online at https://www.hoodlandfire.us or by contacting HFD by phone at 503-622-3256.

By Ben Simpson/MT

 

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