At the Chimney Safety Institute of America, one half of our mission is to educate and certify industry professionals.
By doing so, it helps us with the other half of our mission: Advancing public awareness.
Why is that?
Well, CSIA wants to make sure that when visitors looking to hire a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep (CCS) or a CSIA Certified Dryer Exhaust Technician (C-DET) pore through the over 1,600 options on the zip-code locator on our websites, they can be assured that they are getting tremendous value — someone that is committed to our high ideals.
The CSIA’s board of directors took that pledge one step further recently. In May, they held a strategic planning session that produced our first vision statement: “Every family enjoys a safe, warm home.”
As CSIA President Mark A. Stoner explained, “We want people to feel good about their fireplace and wood stove, and to not be afraid of it. We want them to understand how the chimney functions, as well as best practices. We want homeowners to respect and understand the dangers, so that their time spent in front of the hearth on a chilly Fall or cold Winter night can occur with more confidence and less risk.”
There are an average of 22,700 unwanted blazes per year — nearly 63 fires per day — attributed to the fireplace, chimney, and chimney connector, according to the latest U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission report on residential structure fires from 2010 to 2012, which was published in April. Little fanfare accompanied the release. CSIA believes that many residents and business owners are unaware of the risk — until the day when they experience a problem.
MORE: A roundup of chimney fires reported last winter.
“We worked on a new plan for us, and really, what would it look like if CSIA’s mission were fully complete? What would the United States look like if we were successful in our outreach?” Stoner said.
“At the CSIA Technology Center in Plainfield, Indiana, we have a lab that is full of chimney gear and venting components and venting systems that we use to teach technicians, so when they come into people’s homes they are literally making people safer. They are helping homeowners’ lives to be better.”