One of the things I have learned in the 25 years that I have been with the Woodstock Fire Department is that we all need to be reminded of things, and often.
Each year I am asked why there is a burn ban in our area.
Our answer is that Woodstock/Cherokee County is counted in the metro Atlanta area. The Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) imposes a ban on outdoor burning to comply with federal clean air regulations. During the summer months in Georgia, the air we breathe can reach unhealthy levels. Open burning is a significant contributor to the pollutants that form ozone, according to the EPD. The burn ban helps reduce these levels.
Much to the surprise of many, we have been under these regulations since 1996.
Once the ban is lifted (it runs May 1 to Sept. 30), we guide everyone to the Georgia Forestry Commission (www.gatrees.org or 1-877-OK2-BURN) for permits. The commission decides daily whether the conditions are acceptable to allow outdoor burning.
Another reminder is to be active in prevention in your home by practicing home fire escape routes, testing your smoke alarms and knowing two ways out of every room. Smoke alarms should be tested every month and replaced after 10 years. Our area has many homes with basements, which means bedrooms can be three floors off the ground. Exiting a window that high would require an emergency ladder. Is this something your home needs? Don’t put off this purchase!
If you have questions or would you like to learn more about your fire department, visit our second annual Woodstock Fire Department open house, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Oct. 8. Join us for live extrication demonstrations, firefighter drills, truck displays, fire station tours and a real fire hose line experience for the kids.
Activities also include inflatables for children, lunch (while supplies last) and ice cream. We will have balloon tying and face painting as well, provided by our local church sponsors. Lowe’s Home Improvement will also be on site to assist children doing Build-N-Grow activities. Parking is at Allen Temple AME Church, 232 Arnold Mill Road.
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By George Williams