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Proper ash disposal a must for fire prevention

January 16, 2013 by

Improperly disposed ashes can lead to damaged garbage receptacles, at minimum, and potential household fire hazards at worst.

Improperly disposed ashes can lead to damaged garbage receptacles, at minimum, and potential household fire hazards at worst.

Perhaps not precisely proportional, but a famous adage advises an ounce of prevention equating a pound of cure.

During such bitterly cold snaps as what Lake County has experienced in recent weeks, it comes as no surprise that many folks are stoking up their wood-burning stoves to heat their homes.

A vital element for those residents to keep in mind is the proper disposal of ashes when cleaning out their stoves following burning activities. If not fully extinguished, the risk of fire or other property damage is possible.

Kevin Sterba, general manager of Lakeview Sanitation, requested that local residents be watchful how to properly dispose of ash in light of damaged containers that have turned up around town.

“We just want (to remind residents) when they clean out their ashes, that they put them in a metal container away from their home,” Sterba said.

Sterba recommended that residents let the ashes sit in a closed container for at least a week to ensure there no surviving or glowing embers. Additionally, when the ashes are transferred into a garbage can, residents should bag them up rather than dump them loosely into their container.

“If it’s too hot for the bag, it’ll be too hot for the can,” he said.

The strategy parallels that of not leaving campfires unattended, due to the potential for re-ignition, Sterba said.

A few extra days to ensure reduced or eliminated risk is well worth it to avoid a major catastrophic fire, he noted.

There is also a financial risk associated with small-scale damage, as customers are liable for such damage to their garbage cans, Sterba said, in the event a garbage can is melted from smoldering ashes.

“We’ve seen a number of them last year, and starting to see them (again) this year,” he said.

If the problem persists, a ban on disposal of ashes in the garbage cans may be considered, Sterba noted.

 

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