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Fire Safety Tips

A fireplace or heating stove can help to heat your home during the cold winter months while also helping you lower your home heating bills. But fireplaces and woodstoves also can bring a home fire hazard. In fact, the majority of home fires occur during the coldest months: December, January and February. Fortunately, you can keep your home and family warm and safe by following some fire safety guidelines.

Practice proper fireplace maintenance.

Fire safety tips - indianapolis IN - Your Chimney Sweep

According to the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA), a good portion of home-heating fires are caused by dirty chimneys, fireplaces or stoves. In wood-burning fireplaces or stoves, flammable creosote can build up on the walls of a chimney, posing a fire hazard. In other types of fireplaces, debris or animal nests can block chimneys. Gas and pellet stoves should have fans and vents cleaned from dust and debris. In all types of fireplaces or stoves, cracking chimneys or malfunctioning parts can lead to a home fire. Because of these dangers, the National Fire Protection Agency recommends that all fireplaces, stoves and chimneys be cleaned and inspected by a certified chimney sweep at least once per year.

Prep your fireplace or stove before lighting a fire.

Before you light a fire, make sure your fireplace or stove has been properly prepared. Clear out any ash from previous fires. In a pellet stove, make sure there isn’t any debris. Make sure your damper is entirely opened to allow for proper ventilation of the fire and to prevent smoke from billowing back into your home. If you have an open-hearth fireplace, build your fire on a metal grate. Glass doors should be fully opened when a fire is burning, and use a metal screen over the fireplace opening to prevent burning embers from flying out into the room. Never leave your fire unattended.

Never burn other materials in your fireplace.

Never burn anything other than the intended fuel in your fireplace. That includes cardboard, wrapping paper, trash, plastics, coal and Christmas trees. These can all cause a flare up that could lead to a chimney fire, or release toxic fumes into your home. In a wood-burning stove or fireplace, only properly seasoned, dry firewood should be burned to prevent an excess of flammable creosote from building up.

Create a safe area around your fireplace.

Make sure you create a buffer between your fireplace and the rest of your room. Flammable materials, such as décor, books, pillows and furniture, should be kept at least two feet away from a fireplace. Consider installing a safety gate around the hearth to keep pets and children a safe place from the fire’s flames or the hard edges of the hearth or stove.

Be prepared for a potential home fire.

Practice recommended home safety guidelines. Keep a fire extinguisher on hand. Have operating smoke and carbon monoxide detectors on all floors of your home, especially outside of bedrooms. Create a fire evacuation plan and make sure all members of the family have the plan memorized.

By exercising common sense and following a few safety guidelines, you can enjoy your fireplace or stove all winter while keeping your family safe.

By Joe Sauter on January 11th, 2016 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , | Leave a Comment