Fire Chief Matt Treit
The final month of 2013 was a fairly busy one with the Tumbler Ridge Fire Department (TRFD) responding to incidents 27 times. These responses included one public service call, one report of fire, one report of a smell of gas, three motor vehicle incidents, five reports of ringing fire alarms, and 16 First Responder calls.
Training in the month of December included firefighting strategy and tactics, ropes and knots, and the use of ground ladders. Congratulations to Deputy Vandale, Captain Curry, Lieutenant Braam, and Firefighters Beale, Beattie, Leach, Thibodeau, Ross, Fry, Dell, Arnaly, and Probationary Firefighter Brodie for achieving 100 percent attendance during the month of December.
Congratulations also goes out to Firefighter Russell Colbourne who celebrated his third year on the fire department last month. We wish him many more years of service with our organization.
One statistic worth noting is that the TRFD was not called to a single structure fire or chimney fire in 2013.
The proper installation, use, and maintenance of wood burning appliances are the keys for the prevention of these fires. Here are a few safety tips for the safe operation of your wood burning appliance.
Make sure your home is equipped with working smoke alarms. Add an extra alarm near the exit to the room where your wood heat appliance is located. It can give early warning of smoke from chimney blockage or from something smoldering close to your appliance.
Keep a fire extinguisher within easy reach of your wood heat appliance. Use an all-purpose and approved (ABC) fire extinguisher. Check it every month for any loss in pressure or noticeable damage and follow the manufacturer’s maintenance instructions. Read the label carefully to ensure that you know how to use it.
Keep heat-proof gloves near your appliance. These are very useful for the prevention of injuries when placing wood in a hot stove. An inexpensive pair of leather welder’s gloves will work fine.
Check the chimney and flue pipe often for creosote and clean them or have them cleaned if creosote buildup exceeds three millimeters.
Use properly seasoned wood and burn hot fires to minimize creosote production.
Check flue pipes for corrosion at least once a year – the end of the heating season is a good time. Replace any pipes beginning to corrode. Don’t wait until there are holes – it may be too late!
Use a covered metal bucket for ashes. Store it carefully outside or on a concrete floor well away from walls or anything that could burn. Never dispose of these in a regular garbage receptacle.
Check the door latches, hinges and gaskets of your appliance regularly to be sure they are tight. If you close the door on a piece of paper and you can pull it out, the door is not tight enough.
If you have any questions regarding the installation or use of woodstoves, please contact the fire department for further information. On behalf of the TRFD I would like to wish everyone a Happy New Year and all the best for a safe 2014.