As weather cools and people start firing up their wood burners

Safety reminders from Kootenay Boundary fire chief

With cool temperatures settling in, the regional fire chief reminds people about safety measures like annual fireplace maintenance.

A 9-1-1 call from a house in Fruitvale on Monday served as a good safety reminder for all homeowners, especially as cool weather sets in.

Regional Fire Chief Terry Martin said the owner had smoke in his residence which turned out to be coming from an issue with his fireplace. Fortunately, the situation ended up being nothing too serious.

But with temperatures dipping into the freezing zone, more fireplaces are being lit and Martin reminds residents that all wood burners like stoves and fireplaces, must be inspected annually and properly maintained.

“Have wood burning appliances checked on an annual basis by WET (Wood Energy Technician) Certified personnel,” he emphasized. “They are trained professionals in the field of residential wood burning who adhere to the safety regulations governing wood burning appliances.”

And with the “fall back” time change approaching on Nov. 6, Martin reminds all residents to change batteries on all their smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors when they change back the clocks.

Besides the twice-yearly battery check (at minimum), he says the devices should be tested monthly to ensure they are operational.

And replace smoke detectors every 10 years, Martin added.

Most fatal fires occur at night, and according to Fire Prevention Canada, residential property fires account for 40 per cent of all fires and 73 per cent of all fire deaths.

Having a working smoke alarm in every bedroom, outside every bedroom and on each floor of a home is strongly recommended.

Smoke alarms should not be near draft areas (windows, vents) and should be mounted on the ceiling 4 from the wall, and wall mounts should be 4-12” from the ceiling.

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