FALCON FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT
                                Administration Office

News Release

Contact: Matt Seube, Firefighter/EMT

Dec. 22, 2009

                Fireplaces, Wood Stoves Pose Fire,
                    Carbon Monoxide Hazards
 Falcon Fire Department Urges Residents to Follow Safety Tips

By Matt Seube, Firefighter/EMT
Falcon Fire Protection District

It’s not surprising that residential fires caused by fireplaces and wood stoves
increase during the months of December, January and February. According to
the U.S. Fire Administration, residential heating fires account for 27 percent of
fires during winter months and, for obvious reasons, are most prevalent in late
afternoon and peak between 6 and 8 p.m.

Since 2005, the Falcon Fire Department has responded to 14 residential fires in
the District that were attributed to fireplaces and wood stoves. Many homes in
the District rely on fireplaces and wood stoves as the primary heat source, which
leads to prolonged use during the winter months and increases the risk of fire.

“The most common source of chimney fires can be attributed to creosote
buildup,” said Battalion Chief Jeff Petersma. “We’ve also seen chimney fires


                                   7030 Old Meridian Road
                                   Falcon, Colorado 80831
                  Business Number: 719-495-4050 Business Fax: 719-495-3112
Fire safety

caused by improperly installed or maintained chimneys. I’d say that nearly of all
those fires could have been prevented by proper installation and regular
maintenance,” Petersma said. While those fires didn’t result in injury or death,
Petersma said one fire did cause about $75,000 in damage to the house.

The Falcon Fire Department and the Chimney Safety Institute of America offer
the following tips to help reduce the chances of a fire or carbon monoxide
poisoning in your home.

Fireplace and wood stove safety tips:
       Inspect chimneys annually – Have chimneys inspected each year and
        cleaned as necessary. This reduces the risk of fires and carbon monoxide
        poisonings due to creosote buildup or obstructions in the chimney.
       Keep it clear – Keep tree branches and leaves at least 15 feet away from
        the top of the chimney.
       Install a chimney cap – This keeps debris and animals out of the chimney.
       Choose the right fuel – For fireplaces and wood stoves, choose well
        seasoned wood that has been split for a minimum of six months to one
        year. Keep it covered and elevated to keep it dry. Never burn Christmas
        trees or treated wood in your fireplace or wood stove.
       Build it right – Place firewood or fire logs at the rear of the fireplace on a
        supporting grate. To start the fire, use kindling or a commercial fire
        lighter. Never use flammable liquids.
       Keep the hearth area clear – Combustible material too close to the
        fireplace or wood stove could easily catch fire. Keep furniture at least 36
        inches away from the hearth.
       Use a fireplace screen – Use metal mesh or a screen in front of the fireplace
        to catch flying sparks that could ignite or burn holes in the carpet or


                                     7030 Old Meridian Road
                                     Falcon, Colorado 80831
                    Business Number: 719-495-4050 Business Fax: 719-495-3112
Fire safety

        Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors – Place detectors throughout
         the house and change detector batteries when you change your clocks in
         the spring and fall.
        Before going to bed, ensure that the fire is left in a safe condition, and
         know that extinguishing the fire completely provides for the highest level
         of safety. Be sure to keep children and pets away from burning fireplaces
         and woodstoves.

The USFA recommends keeping air inlets on wood stoves open and never
restrict air supply to fireplaces. This will help prevent creosote buildup that
could lead to a chimney fire. The USFA suggests using fire-resistant materials on
walls around wood stoves.

There are also several steps you can take to prevent fires outside your home
during the winter months. The Falcon Fire Department and the USFA
        Stacking firewood at least 30 feet away from your home.
        Keeping the roof of your home clear of leaves, pine needles and other
        Covering the chimney with a mesh screen spark arrester.

“We’ve had some very cold temperatures this season, and with the coldest
months of winter upon us, we encourage residents to take every precaution
possible to reduce the risk of house fires caused by faulty equipment, improperly
installed stoves or carelessness,” said Falcon Fire Department Chief Trent
Harwig. “It’s easy to overlook fireplace inspections, but faulty chimneys and
creosote buildup can significantly increase the chance of a destructive home


                                     7030 Old Meridian Road
                                     Falcon, Colorado 80831
                    Business Number: 719-495-4050 Business Fax: 719-495-3112
Fire safety

For more information on fireplace and wood stove safety, visit the Chimney
Safety Institute of America’s Web site (www.csia.org) or the U.S. Fire
Administration Web site (www.usfa.fema.gov).


                                  7030 Old Meridian Road
                                  Falcon, Colorado 80831
                 Business Number: 719-495-4050 Business Fax: 719-495-3112

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