Kevin Connolly, President
For Immediate Release
Monday, Oct. 7, 2019
Media Contact: Jordan Mayblum
Massachusetts Call Volunteer Firefighters Association Offers Chimney Safety Tips in Conjunction With Fire Prevention Week
HADLEY — The Massachusetts Call Volunteer Firefighters Association (MCFVA) would like to offer residents safety tips for maintaining chimneys and preventing chimney fires in conjunction with Fire Prevention Week.
The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) declared Sunday, Sept. 29 through Saturday, Oct. 5 National Chimney Safety Week 2019. Occurring the week before National Fire Prevention Week, Chimney Safety Week is an opportunity to remind homeowners of the dangers of chimney fires and the importance of annual chimney inspections.
According to the most recent data from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, there was an estimated average of 22,300 fireplace or chimney fires between 2012 and 2014.
“Some chimney fires go undetected which can lead to a damaging outcome and can negatively impact the safe operation of your chimney,” MCVFA President Kevin Connolly said. “With cold weather coming, now is a good time for residents to ensure they are following proper maintenance recommendations and having their chimneys cleaned annually.”
How To Prevent a Chimney Fire:
- Have your chimney cleaned annually by a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep. Dirty chimneys can cause chimney fires.
- Have your chimney inspected annually even if you don’t use your chimney often. A chimney inspection can help prevent carbon monoxide and chimney fires and can identify potential system issues to address them before they become dangerous or costly.
- Ensure there are no prior damages to your chimney that may impact its ability to work safely.
- Be sure to properly dispose of ashes from chimneys and stoves.
- Be sure that the damper of the chimney is open before lighting a fire.
- Use a fireplace screen to prevent flying sparks and embers from falling out onto the floor.
- Install and maintain smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.
Signs of a Chimney Damaged by a Chimney Fire:
- “Puffy” or “honey combed” creosote
- Warped metal of the damper, metal smoke chamber connector pipe or factory-built metal chimney
- Cracked or collapsed flue tiles, or tiles with large chunks missing
- Discolored and/or distorted rain cap
- Heat-damaged TV antenna attached to the chimney
- Creosote flakes and pieces found on the roof or ground
- Roofing material damaged from hot creosote
- Cracks in exterior masonry
- Evidence of smoke escaping through mortar joints of masonry or tile liners
Operating a chimney that has previously experienced a fire is a safety risk. If you have suspect that your chimney has been impacted by fire, call a certified sweep to assess damages and make recommendations for repairs make sure your chimney is safe.
Chimney fires can burn intensely and can spread to other parts of a house. Many chimney fires are slow-burning and may not get enough air or fuel to be visible. However, slow-burning fires can reach very high temperatures and can cause extensive damage to a chimney’s structure or other parts of the house.
If you or a family member hear loud cracking or popping noises, see dense smoke or notice an intense, hot smell coming from your chimney, call 911 immediately.
The MCVFA promotes the welfare of Massachusetts Call and Volunteer Fire/EMS companies and their members. Established in 1990 we have grown from 14 departments to more than 130 fire and emergency services organizations representing over 3,400 members. For more, visit the MCVFA website at mcvfa.org.