We take safety seriously at the Chimney Safety Institute of America. We have to. There are still too many families needlessly experiencing hardship as the result of damage that started with innocent intentions. Who wants to put a load of clothes in a dryer and later have to escape from the residence because of a ventilation-related blaze? What joy is there when you expect to obtain soothing warmth from a flickering fire on a cold evening — only to be calling 911.
With that context, we’re always seeking to get the public’s attention in an effort to generate awareness.
That’s why we were delighted to get a nice profile in the Sunday Dec. 1, 2013 edition of the Indianapolis Star under the headline “Heart of chimney industry sweeps through Plainfield.” This story and photo package from the journalism team of Ryan Sabalow and Doug McSchooler was aimed at our CSIA headquarters in Plainfield, Indiana and how unique it is to have such a facility in the middle of a warehouse district.
The story, on page A10 of the Star, gave us multiple opportunities, sprinkled among the 20 paragraphs, to get across safety information that was provided to them by CSIA staff, including Ashley Eldridge, director of education.
Between 2009 and 2011, there were an average of 24,300 fireplace and chimney fires in the U.S. each year, causing more than $30.8 million in damage annually, according to the CSIA. That’s where the sweeps come in. Fire officials recommended you have your chimney inspected every year. Certified sweeps typically charge between $100 to $300 for an inspection and a cleaning. Many sweeps, Eldridge said, also will recommend ways to make homes more energy efficient and fire safe.
Here was another helpful component of the story (a picture and caption) that ran in the online version of the article.
The Indy Star’s profile was published roughly two weeks after a similar story in an Indianapolis-area media outlet, WIBC 93.1-FM.
In that story, reporter Mike Corbin wrote:
That’s why the Hendricks County-based Chimney Safety Institute of America is urging Hoosiers to have their chimneys and other heating checked before using. Education Director Ashley Eldridge says chimney sweeps perform inspections. They search for blockages in chimney flues. Blockages can include anything from dead birds and animals to leaves and other items.
We try to get the word out every way we can. It starts with the news media.
Here is a PDF of the Indy Star article.