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— Fire chief David Flynt would like to remind residents to clean their chimneys and check their smoke alarm batteries.

As the weather gets cooler, many community members will be using their fire places and wood stoves to stay cozy, but if not properly maintained chimneys can create a fire danger.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, about 16,500 fires are caused by failure to clean chimneys each year. Heating equipment, which includesportable heaters, stoves, fireplaces, chimneys and furnaces, is the leading cause of home fires in the months of December, January and February and the leading cause of home fire deaths, the association’s Web site, www.nfpa.org, states.

Chimneys should be maintained by having them cleaned and inspected annually by a qualified professional, the site recommends.

Smoke alarms batteries should also be checked monthly. The Decatur Fire Department provides free smoke alarms and free smoke alarm batteries to residents. Batteries and alarms can be picked up at city hall during business hours.

News, Pages 3 on 11/04/2009

Print Headline: It’s time to clean chimneys

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