On a chilly autumn night, there’s nothing like a crackling fire in the fireplace. While fireplaces are designed to provide comfort, warmth and relaxation, if they’re not maintained properly, they also can lead to damaging residential fires. In fact, from 2008 to 2010, over 56% of residential fires were the result of fires from chimneys or flues, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
So before you light your first fire of the season, here are some important fireplace safety tips you need to know:
- Ensure all fireplace parts are in good working condition.
- Clean out the ashes from previous fires before lighting a new fire.
- Always open the damper when lighting a fire so poisonous gases can travel out of your home. Don’t close the damper until the embers have stopped burning completely.
- Never burn charcoal, rolled newspapers, plastic, garbage or Christmas trees in your fireplace.
- Never use gasoline or another liquid accelerant to help start a fire.
- Only use the amount of gas needed to feed the fire in gas fireplaces.
- Use a fireplace grate.
- Don’t wear loose clothing that can get into the flame when lighting a fire
- Use a fireplace screen to prevent hot ash from flying out of the firebox and into the house.
- Keep glass doors open while the fire is burning.
- Use fireplace tools when tending the fire.
- Never leave a fire unattended.
- Keep small children and pets away from a fire and never leave them unattended.
- Keep firewood, kindling and fire-starting materials away from the fireplace so sparks can’t accidentally ignite these materials.
- Keep flammable items (furniture, books, candles and other décor) at least 2 feet away from the fireplace.
- Make sure the fire is completely out before going to bed or leaving your home.
- Always keep a fire extinguisher near your fireplace in case of an emergency.
- Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your home and regularly check them to make sure they’re working properly.
Have your chimney inspected and cleaned annually by a professional chimney sweeping company, like T.J.’s Chimney Service in Greenfield, IN. Two of the leading reasons why fireplace fires occur is obstructions in the chimney and creosote buildup on the chimney flue walls. Schedule your chimney inspection and cleaning today by calling 317-455-5310.