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Winter safety tips from the fire department

Mason City, IA ñ The Mason City Fire Department wants to help everyone enjoy the holiday season and Put a Freeze on Winter Fires. “There are a few things that could make the difference between a happy season and a bad one,”
according to Fire Marshal Mark Christiansen. The two biggest concerns for holiday fires are candles and Christmas trees. Candles cause an estimated 15,600 fires in residential structures, 150 deaths, 1,270 injuries, and $539 million in estimated direct property damage each year. December is the peak month for candle fires. Young children and older adults have the highest death risk from candle-related fires. Unwatered Christmas trees with lights are an extreme fire hazard and everyone should water cut trees regularly.

“We want to make sure citizens not only take steps to keep their homes fire safe, but to keep themselves safe in the event of a fire,” according to Deputy Chief Doug Janssen. “If there’s a fire at your house, you want to make sure that we can get water.” The City of Mason City has 1221 fire hydrants located through the City. As you can imagine, it would take every City employee working a couple of days after every storm to dig out all of these fire hydrants. Fire hydrants need to have a 3 foot clearance to assure the Fire Department can make a quick connection to water. The hydrants themselves and this 3-foot
clearance area is actually City property. Fire Chief Bob Platts reminds citizens “that any one in the neighborhood is free to keep their hydrant clear, even if it’s not on their property. However, if you are hesitant to clear the hydrant on someone else’s property, be assured that the fire fighters will be happy to clear out the hydrants whenever they might need them to fight a fire at your house.”

The Mason City Fire Department hopes everyone in a neighborhood will cooperate in keeping hydrants clear. “Along with keeping hydrants clear, homes and businesses should make sure that seldom used secondary exits are clear of snow and ice,” warns the Department’s Deputy Chief of EMS – Dave Johnson. It can take quite a bit more work to make sure that front or back doors that are not normally used are kept clear this winter season. “However, we want to make sure that everyone has at least two ways out of all commercial and residential buildings in Mason City,” cautions Fire Marshal Christiansen. “The Fire Bureau and fire fighters keep their eyes open all winter for businesses that may not clear their back or side emergency exit doors,” reports Chief Platts. “But everyone should check to make sure that their homes and businesses have clear and accessible safety exits.”

For lots of winter safety tips, please visit the Fire Department’s page on the City’s website at for tips for winter fire safety. These tips can befound under Fire Services/Fire Bureau/Winter Fire Safety.

Anyone with any questions should call the Mason City Fire Department at 641.421.3640.||

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