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Maintain your chimney campaign
Wednesday’s icy temperature didn’t stop the team from CFA and Baw Baw Shire from promoting fireplace and chimney safety to the local community, following a spate of chimney fires in the area.
The campaign began when Jim Armstrong, a CFA volunteer firefighter from Longwarry brigade, became concerned with the number of house fires in the area as a result of unmaintained chimneys.
Jim, who also volunteers at the Labertouche Men’s Shed and supplies firewood as part of the Men’s Shed fundraising, has always been big on spreading the importance of burning clean dry wood.
Jim expressed his passion and concern for the community’s safety to Jo Melton, Brigade Support Officer for District 9 who did some digging herself.
“I was very surprised to find that chimney and wood heater fires were the only preventable cause of house fires that are on the increase in Victoria,” said Jo.
Operations Officer David Chugg also joined in to lend a hand, and said the campaign was the result of a strong partnership between Baw Baw Shire and CFA.
“I hope that by spreading this vital information we will hopefully reduce the risk of house fires this winter,” said David.
“Brigades across District 9 have already attended five house fires in the last three months directly attributed to installation faults and poorly maintained chimneys, flues, wood heaters or open fireplaces.”
The launch of the Maintain to Reduce Your Risk campaign was on Wednesday morning on the corner of Smith and Palmerston Streets in a pop-up street stall in Warragul.
The stall included examples of deteriorated baffles and ash that builds up in the tops of chimneys to show how important it is to maintain a chimney and fire heaters. Members of the public were given free magnets and information leaflets to help remind them of the importance of correct maintenance and what to look for.
The campaign will continue across Baw Baw and South Gippsland Shire offices, CFA district offices, local brigades, community markets in the area and wood and heater suppliers.