Andover Fire Department: March 2013

March weather tough to predict

By Rene Lefebvre, Chief, Andover Fire Department

March is the month of town meetings, where the amount of our next tax bill is decided, and it is the season of mud. Makes you wonder if there is some poetic relationship lurking there somewhere.

March is also the season of melting snow and excess ground water. Along with the spring rain, are flooded basements far behind?

While a flooded cellar is not a life-threatening emergency, it can weaken a foundation and, at best, become a real pain to deal with. If you have had flooding in the past, it’s time to dig out the sump pumps to clean and test them. A sump pump is not much more than an impeller, a motor, and a switch. Each is prone to corrosion and will fail from sitting over the dry season.

To test, simply place the pump in a five gallon bucket of clean water, and turn it on. If the pump drains the water in a few seconds, you are all set. Otherwise, repairs or a pump replacement are required. A word of caution when you test your pump: Be sure to connect the discharge hose, and point it away from yourself. Otherwise “wet and wild” will explain your situation and your mood.

A new pump sitting on your shelf at home is very inexpensive insurance against the frustration of a flooded basement. We keep sump pumps in both stations, should you find yourself in trouble.

March weather is tough to predict. We could be buried in snow, or mud, or enjoying an early, warm spring. Considering that the weather seems to be doing strange things, we need to be vigilant.

High snow amounts can build up around vents and cause unsafe conditions in our homes. Simply take a walk around your home, inspecting each vent for visibility. If you can’t see the vent, then the fumes may have trouble blowing through the snow. This is especially true for clothes dryers and gas heaters.

The new pellet stoves have a more complex vent system. Fresh air is drawn in the outside tube, and fumes are vented out the center tube. They are usually mounted up several feet high and should be safely above normal snow levels. However, drifting snow should be checked. If you are unable to check your vents, please call us, and we will do an inspection.

Fire Departments Merged

I wanted to give a full report on the status of the fire departments’ merger, but there is very little to report on that front. We are operating day-to-day, handling emergencies and minor calls as they occur. Meetings are about training and the business of our fire department. In short, we are operating as you would want your fire department to.

We did not expect that there would be major issues, but even dealing with the minor ones has been routine. We are truly lucky to have department members focused on the needs of our community and the support of the town we serve.

See you at the School District Meeting on Monday, March 4, and at Town Meeting on Tuesday, March 12.