With cold weather heading our way, and the temptation to light a fire in the fireplace, the following safety tips may become handy:
– Clear the area around the fireplace and chimney. Debris too close to the fireplace could cause a fire. Check the flue for obstructions like birds’ nests, and trim any overhanging branches or large trees near the chimney.
-Always use a fireplace screen.
-Never overload the fireplace with too many logs. Don’t use the fireplace as an incinerator, and never burn garbage, Christmas trees, or piles of paper.
– Keep a fire extinguisher on hand and place smoke detectors throughout the house. Test the smoke detectors and batteries regularly. See that the extinguisher is in good working order and that all family members know how to operate it.
– When building a fire, place logs at the rear of the fireplace, preferably on a grate.
– Never leave fire unattended. Be sure the fire is extinguished before you go to bed.
– Keep wood stacked, covered, and out-of-doors, away from the house and off the ground. Bring in only as much as you need for one evening to prevent insects that may be in the wood from entering your home. Manufactured Firelogs, which are packaged to eliminate insects and mess, can also prevent this problem.
– Have your fireplace inspected annually and cleaned when necessary by a chimney sweep certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America. A dirty fireplace can cause chimney fires and inhibit proper venting of smoke up the flue. A dirty fireplace can cause chimney fires or contribute to air pollution. Your local certified chimney sweep will diagnose your fireplace and recommend what it needs in order to burn cleanly and safely.