The Chimney Safety Institute of America is committed to education, across all industries, including firefighting agencies, because when it comes to helping homeowners who have suffered chimney fires, those first responders can really help us out with our noble cause.
That’s why we were so thrilled to return as a trade show exhibitor to the Fire Department Instructors Conference in Indianapolis, IN, held April 10-12, where we debuted a new brochure, “What You Need to Know After a Chimney Fire.”
It’s an information-heavy, 8-panel color publication that we have made free for a limited time. It’s meant for firefighters to keep on their trucks, to hand out to residents who may have experienced a chimney fire that required a call to 911.
Thousands of these type of fires occur every year. Many homeowners are shocked when it occurs.
Yes, using a fireplace or stove is starting a fire in your home, yet folks don’t realize the danger that lurks in the flue. That’s why CSIA is so focused on promoting awareness of the need for inspection and sweeping well before the chimney can unintentionally catch fire.
But when a fire happens, and firefighters extinguish the blaze, there’s a miscommunication that can occur. The homeowners often ask the guys in the thick suits if it’s safe to use the fire apparatus again.
It is not!
Now instead of just blindly recommending a chimney inspection, firefighters have a new tool – our brochure – so homeowners know WHO to call for that post-fire inspection.
That’s the Chimney Safety Institute of America, and the brochure features our phone number and website so the homeowner can decide to contact our ethics-minded sweeps for service.
Video: CSIA’s Jeff Schmittinger and Joe Sauter explain the benefits of the brochure to firefighters and chimney sweeps
We introduced our free brochure three ways: CSIA Sweep Bob Sciba of the Chimney Doctors delivered a presentation to county firefighters in the Midland, Michigan area on April 9, we made it free online on April 10 at csia.org, and we had printed 150 4-pack brochures at our FDIC trade show table.
Hundreds of firefighters or in firefighter-related professions strolled by from departments as large as DC and as small as rural volunteers. From New Jersey to Louisiana and Michigan to North Carolina — even a firefighter from Hawaii — we heard this phrase over and over again:
Firefighters train themselves, but they welcome input from affiliated trades, particularly because our services don’t necessarily impact their line of work. Several departments said they’d put these brochures on their response trucks immediately. Others pledged to show them to their county or regional fire associations. They appreciated being able to be among the first to hear about an initiative that will help them to avoid liability, as they don’t have to be held responsible for giving the homeowner the thumbs up on immediately reusing the chimney before it is ready.
This was just the start for us. There were thousands of firefighters that we didn’t reach at this show.
That’s where sweeps will come in. They can, for now, print on demand a full-color two-sided brochure. This is no charge other than what a typical 8-1/2 by 14 brochure would cost you. Bring it to your local departments and give it to them for free.
Video: CSIA’s Tom Spalding recaps how guests viewed the brochure in this short Vine.
We’re preparing a PowerPoint that will teach sweeps how to use it! If you aren’t comfortable reaching out to firefighters we can try and do it for you – just let us know 1 or 2 fire departments in your service area. But keep in mind, you’ll be quicker and more convincing being a resident of your area.
Please feel free to email us at Tspalding@csia.org
More: on the FDIC trade show.
Be safe, and inspect to protect!
Photo credits: Top, Photo courtesy of Phillip Kerns, Assistant Chief, Frankenmuth Fire Department, MI; and Tom Spalding.