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by Kurt Evers

The Riverdale Fire Department faced a number of difficulties during 1999. When I took over as Chief this January, I was determined to put this department back on track, both financially and in our public image.

We have had a few incidents that have been widely reported in various publications, however, I assure you that these are the exception and not the rule. The President of the RFD Corporation, myself and the rest of the membership of the department stand ready to serve the public at the most professional level at all times.

If we can be of assistance to you, whether for a home inspection, to check your smoke detector, or for an emergency, do not hesitate to call upon us. Please remember that for all emergencies, dialing 911 is the quickest way to get the proper level of response.

In conclusion, I would like to leave you with these Winter Safety Tips.

As the weather turns chillier, many people turn to their fireplaces for a relaxing, comfortable source of heat. Some rely on other methods of heat, such as portable heaters, either they are electric or fueled by some other source such as kerosene.

If you have a fireplace, please observe these safety tips:

  • Have your fireplace and chimney checked and professionally cleaned at least once a year.

  • Make sure the flue functions properly and is open before lighting a fire.

  • Always place a metal screen or glass door across the fireplace opening.

  • Never leave the house or go to bed unless the fire is completely out and there are no glowing embers.

    If you use other heat sources as mentioned above, please keep these tips in mind:

  • All heaters must be kept at least 36 inches from anything that can burn, including furniture, bedding, clothing, pets and people.

  • Heaters also must NOT be left operating when you are not in the room or when you go to sleep.

  • Children and pets should be supervised at all times when heaters are in use.

  • Make certain that everyone is aware of the fire hazard associated with drying clothes or placing combustible materials over a heater.

  • For kerosene or other liquid fueled heaters you must be certain to use the fuel recommended by the manufacturer. NEVER USE GASOLINE or a substitute fuel, because they may burn hotter than the heater's design limits and will cause a serious fire.

  • Turn the unit off and allow it to cool sufficiently before refueling it. Wipe up any spillage promptly. Store kerosene away from heat or open flames in a container approved by the fire department and mark it with the fuel name.
These and other safety tips can also be found on our web site: http://www.riverdalevfd.org

Kurt Evers is the new Fire Chief for the Riverdale Fire Department. He is a career firefighter in Montgomery County.

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