by Sean Bellach
With winter approaching, the Kenwood Fire Protection District encourages everyone to keep safe while trying to stay warm. Many residents heat their homes with fireplaces or wood stoves. We would like to offer the following precautions to keep you and your family safe.
The Winter Spare the Air program notifies residents when soot levels are anticipated to be high. When unhealthy air is forecast, the Air District will issue a Winter Spare the Air Alert, which prohibits burning wood, firelogs or pellets in fireplaces, woodstoves, or outdoor fire pits. Residents can call 1-877-4NO-BURN (1-877-466-2876) to check the Winter Spare the Air Alert status.
Keep Fireplaces and Wood Stoves Clean
- Have your chimney or wood stove inspected and cleaned annually by a certified specialist.
- Make sure the hearth area is clear of decorations, debris and flammable materials.
- The main cause of chimney fires is creosote buildup. Always keep air inlets on wood stoves open to avoid restricting airflow. Incomplete combustion promotes creosote buildup.
- In order to help lessen creosote buildup in your chimney, we recommend that you keep glass fireplace doors open to allow for complete combustion of your firewood.
- Always use metal mesh screens to help keep embers from getting out of the fireplace.
- Install stovepipe thermometers to monitor flue temperatures.
- Fires in the fireplace should never be unattended. Extinguish fires prior to going to bed or leaving the house.
- Enjoy small fires that burn completely and produce less smoke.
- Never burn cardboard boxes, trash or debris in your fireplace or wood stove.
- Logs should be placed to the rear of the fireplace on top of a supporting metal grate.
- Ashes must be cool before disposal. We recommend that you place all ashes into a metal container with a tight closing lid and keep the container at least 10 feet from your house or any structure.
- Never empty ashes directly into a trash can without dousing and saturating the ashes with water.
- Firewood must be stacked at least 30 feet from your home.
- Keep roof clear of leaves, pine needles and other debris.
- Install metal mesh screen spark arresters on the top of all chimneys.
- Protect the Inside of Your Home
- Install smoke alarms inside and outside sleeping areas and on every level of your home.
- Test smoke alarms monthly and change batteries at least once a year.
- Provide proper ventilation for all heating equipment.
- Extend all heating equipment vent pipes at least 3 feet above the roof.
The Kenwood Fire Protection District continues to seek volunteer firefighters. If you are looking for a rewarding way to give back to our community and be a part of a great group of Kenwoodians please contact us at 833-2042, email directly at firstname.lastname@example.org, or simply stop by the fire station Monday through Friday during business hours 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. No previous firefighting experience is necessary. Applicants must live or work in Kenwood.