Preparedness Corner
October 2001
By Paul Vircsik

Hi Neighbors,

It is wonderful to see this nation responding in such a kind way toward one another. The outpouring of monies and heartfelt thanks to the people who gave their lives to help others in this tragedy is tremendous. Let us not forget those who also died while trying to escape, in the air or on the ground. They should equally be on our minds. Many dinner table discussions in station houses and homes around the nation have taken place regarding this topic.

It is also wonderful to see this nation responding in a neighborly fashion toward one another. People, who would normally never speak to each other, speak. People, who would normally turn a blind eye to a person in need, turn. This is a good time to renew friend ships and acquaintances in our neighborhood as well. The weather is turning and it would be good to know who your neighbors are and how to contact them in an emergency, any emergency. Remember, we are not that far from Colorado Springs and its installations.

As the weather turns colder the windows get shut and the fireplace now becomes the focal point of our evenings, take the precautions to ensure a safe winter. Check that the flue is open and clean. Check with a local chimney sweep for the number of fires between cleaning per your wood that is burned. I certainly don’t know. Chimney fires burn hotter than a normal fire and are a bear to detect. Due to the close proximity of the walls and roof members, conductive heat is an issue with these fires. There are chemical extinguishers specifically designed for this type of fire. Don’t burn a lot of paper or light combustibles as these also produce a higher heat. That thin wall tubing though triple walled is not designed to take these temperatures or extended periods. Candles once again come out and seasonal decorations placed near them should be taken into consideration. Enjoy this grand season but do so with safety in mind. Just like with Wildland firefighting, there are rules to follow that came about due to a death. They are constantly broken, but broken with the safety factors in place. Check your roof and gutters for leaves and needles. The cold dry wind that blows until the arrival of snow will drive embers, from a late season fire, miles from their origin. Besides its good to get the nose red while inspecting the roof. It makes you look festive.

Lastly, renew your driving skills as the roads get slippery. Practicing how to get out of a skid when you are heading towards the cliff is not a timely training session. Almost forgot, the end of the month brings out the tricksters and treaters. The day before this is “turn back the clock day” and you all remember what also is done this day, right. Good for you, stop by Wally World and pick up new batteries for the smoke detectors.

See you all soon,

Paul


Meet the author: Read about Paul Vircsik's background