Heating safely with solid fuels

submitted by Chief David R. Flannery, Carlisle Fire Department

Fires caused by woodstoves, fireplaces and chimneys in 2015 

In Massachusetts in 2015 (latest data), there were 689 fire incidents involving chimneys, fireplaces and wood stoves. Most chimney fires occur due to a build-up of creosote. With the rising cost associated with heating homes, there is the temptation to utilize alternative sources of heating. However, many times people overlook critical safety issues while using alternative heating sources in their homes.

Tips for safe use of wood, coal and pellet stoves

• Before you purchase a heating stove, make sure that it has approval from Underwriter’s Laboratories Inc. or another recognized independent testing lab.


• A building permit needs to be obtained prior to installation of fireplaces, fireplace inserts, wood, coal or pellet burning stoves and must be inspected by the local building inspector prior to their initial use as required by the Massachusetts State Building Code.

•Allow at least 36 inches of clearance around the appliance to prevent combustibles from coming into contact with heat sources.

• Solid fuel heating appliances cannot share a common flue with chimney flues utilized by other solid, fossil or gas fired appliances.

• A qualified mason should inspect the chimney and flue before the stove is used. Cracks in the flue or mortar joints can allow flames and heated gases to extend into the structure.

Proper use

Most chimney fires occur because of a build-up of creosote, a tarry by-product of burning wood.

• Always operate your heating appliance following the manufacturer’s instructions. If you don’t have instructions, obtain advice from one of the local woodstove shops.

• Have your chimney flue cleaned before each heating season. Burn only dry, well-seasoned hardwood to reduce creosote accumulation.

• Don’t use flammable liquids to start a fire

• Never leave children unattended near the stove.

• Check that the damper is open before lighting the fire. A closed damper will result in an accumulation of smoke and carbon monoxide in the home. Do not close the damper until the fire is out and the embers are cold.

• Use a fireplace screen to prevent flying sparks and embers from falling out on to the floor.

• Install and maintain smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms to provide protection for your family.

Fires from ashes

• To prevent fires from ashes, ashes that are cleaned out from the stove or fireplace should be shoveled into a metal bucket with a metal lid and placed outside on the ground away from the building. There have been many recent fires from ashes stored underneath a deck or porch or inside the garage or from ashes stored in cardboard boxes. A live ember can continue to smolder unnoticed for quite some time.

Install and test smoke and 

CO alarms

• Install smoke alarms to warn of a fire, but also have carbon monoxide (CO) alarms in the home to warn about deadly fumes from a faulty furnace, fireplace and oven flue or other venting problem. Problems with heating systems are the #1 source of carbon monoxide in homes. Both types of alarms are required by law in Massachusetts. 

Open burning Season—Registration is required

Open burning season began on January 15 and will end on May 1 at 4 p.m. All landowners must initially register in person with the Fire Department. If you have not registered already, go to the the Police Station, 41 Lowell Street. You only need to register once unless you move to another address in Carlisle; otherwise you do not need to register again. 

Once registered, landowners must still call 1-978-369-1442 on each day burning is planned to obtain a permit. It is important to understand that you must still call for a one-day permit and calls to inquire about obtaining a permit must be made after 9 a.m. 

It's a red sticker this year

2018 Dump stickers are available at the Police Station.

The cost is $25 for the first sticker and $10 for each additional one. Checks only.

Need help with your cell phone?

The COA has a new volunteer who has offered help folks understand how to use a cell phone, phone options (cell and land-line) and cable plans. To take advantage of this service, call the COA office at 1-978-371-2895 and we will have the volunteer contact you. Our volunteer will also prepare old cell phones for recycling that will then be deliver to Minuteman Senior Services (phones are recycled for $$ to help Protective Services). If you have a cell phone to recycle, delete all personal data, remove the sim and/or memory card (as appropriate), and drop the cell phone off in one of two designated boxes; one located in front of the COA office, the other at the Gleason Public Library. Please do not include the phone’s box, charger, or any documentation. If you are unsure how to clear the data or remove the sim and/or memory card and would like our volunteer to do that, in addition to your phone with charger, leave your name, contact info and phone’s password (just in case there is a problem).

Sign up for RUOK check ins

submitted by the Carlisle Council on Aging

Would you like the Fire or Police Department to check in when there is a weather emergency? If you live alone, or have compromised health, and would like a wellness check or a call in the event of a weather-related emergency or disaster, call the COA at 1-978-371-2895 to pick up or have a “Special Needs” form mailed to you. Mail the completed form with signature to the Carlisle Fire Department, Box 575, Carlisle, MA 01741-0575 or drop it off at the Fire Department mailbox at Town Hall. All information is kept in strictest confidence and not shared with outside agencies. Also, if you would like an RUOK (Are you OK) call (automated call at the time/day(s) of the week of your choice to ensure you are ok); or a File of Life (document to list your medicines and emergency contacts), call the COA for more information.

Be prepared for any emergency: make a plan, get a kit, be informed

submitted by Chief David R. Flannery, Emergency Management Director, Town of Carlisle

The New England winter season has begun and severe weather including damaging storms around our country has increased. Extended power outages during cold weather can often create critical situations for many residents. Because there is uncertainty with severe weather during the upcoming months Carlisle‘s Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) wants to ensure that our residents have access to good information. In addition residents should take advantage of the opportunities to make a plan and be informed. There are key steps everyone can take to help ensure the safety of their family. The website as well as the fire department page on the Town’s website has suggestions on appropriate steps to take in preparation for disasters and local emergencies—look for Emergency Preparedness on the fire department page. This information is also available in printed format at the Fire Station, Town Hall, Police Station and the Gleason Public Library.

Get to know your neighbors and form an alliance that can work to support you in an emergency. Create a communication plan for your family. Prepare an emergency kit for your household. Be part of Carlisle’s “Emergency Notification System.” Go to the Town’s website, to register if you haven’t already. Registered residents receive emergency notifications via your home telephone or cell phone that can include email or text-message notifications if you choose.

If you are a resident with special needs you can also register with the Fire Department so the department will have important information on your situation and will have the ability to contact you in the event of a local emergency. Contact the Fire Department or the Council on Aging (COA) office to register. The “File of Life” is also available by contacting the COA. You may also want to consider a NOAA weather alert radio or subscribing to Boston media alerts for up to date severe weather notifications. Also consider signing up for Massachusetts Alerts by going to

Carlisle’s emergency planning involves coordinated efforts between the fire, police, board of health, public works and town administration officials, in concert with regional, state and federal Emergency Management staff. With each small step at home you take great strides in planning for any emergency. ∆

Need fuel assistance?

Do you need help with your fuel bills? The guidelines for assistance: LIHEAP (Federal/State Program): household of one gross annual income of up to $34,380 household of two up to $44,958; household of three up to $55,537; household of four up to $66,115 (for larger families call for additional info). Help is also available from the Salvation Army Good Neighbor Fund for folks with gross annual income for family of one $34,380-$45,840; household of two $44,958 to $59,944, household of three $55,537 to $74,049 and household of four $66,115 to $88,153. Fuel assistance is open to all families. Additional support may also be available from other sources depending on other criteria. Please contact the Council on Aging at 1-978-371-2895 to set up a confidential appointment or to acquire more details. You can also apply directly to CTI in Lowell; 1-978-459-6161.

Hunting Season is in progress

October was the start of hunting season. No hunting is permitted on Sundays. According to the Carlisle Bylaws, “No person shall hunt, fire or discharge any firearm or explosive on any private property except with the written consent of the owner or legal occupant thereof, said written permission must be carried upon the person.” 

Hunting dates by animal type

• July 1 - April 10: crow

• October 2 to January 31: raccoon and opossum

• October 14 to November 25 - pheasant, quail and ruffed grouse

• October 14 to February 5: snowshoe hare

• October 14 to January 2: gray squirrel

• October 14 to March 8: coyote

• October 14 to February 28: cottontail rabbit 

• deer: 

October 16-November 25 - Archery

November 2-4 - Paraplegic Hunt

November 27 - December 9 - Shotgun

December 11-30 - primitive firearms 

• October 23 to November 4 - wild turkey

• November 1 to February 28: fox (red or gray)

• black bear:

November 6 to November 25

Shotgun season - November 27 to December 9

• Furbearer Trapping

November 1 to November 30 - coyote, fox, weasel, 

November 1 to November 22 - fisher

November 1 to December 15 - mink, river otter

November 1 to April 15 - beaver

November 1 to February 28 - muskrat, opossum, raccoon, skunk

For more information check the website ∆