5 Fireplace Safety Tips for National Fireplace Month
Summer is over and fall is bringing cooler weather which means that fire season is right around the corner. And while there’s something warm and charming about chestnuts roasting by an open fire, the reality can be far more dangerous if you don’t take the right precautions. Every year, there are nearly 375,000 house fires causing 2,600 deaths and injuring 12,975 people.
One of the biggest culprits for starting house fires is, of course, the fireplace. Since it is officially national fireplace month, we want you to know how to keep you and your family safe this upcoming winter with these 5 fireplace safety tips!
1) Never leave a fire unattended
Master poet Robert Herrick once said, “A spark neglected makes a mighty fire.” This is certainly the case when it comes to using your fireplace. The process of combustion, though usually controlled, releases a lot of energy and can occasionally emit embers from the fireplace. As such, someone should always be in the room if there is a live fire, even if it is contained in the firebox.
Also, sometimes a fire’s energy outlasts our own and we head to bed early. When this is the case, it is important to know how to properly extinguish a fire before calling it a night!
2) Keep an extra watchful eye on your children
Children can be a handful, especially at a young age. Besides just preventing your children from getting burned (which is always the main concern), children will sometimes touch a hot coal and instinctively throw it; unfortunately, they don’t always throw it back into the fireplace.
Anytime you have young children in the same room as an active fire, there needs to be an adult present even if the child is at the other end of the room. It’s also good to research ways to protect children around fireplaces before fire season begins so you and your family can be as safe as possible!
3) Presents should be far from present
No matter what holiday you celebrate in the winter months, they will likely involve presents. Wrapping paper, cardboard, and ribbon are highly flammable and will quickly ignite if sparked. Though it may be less decorative, presents (and a tree for those who celebrate Christmas) should be kept far away from the fireplace to avoid loose embers sparking a fire.
Also, once the presents are unwrapped, be sure to avoid burning the paper as this can cause larger fires than anticipated. Furthermore, wrapping paper tends to send more embers floating through the air than firewood. So rather than trying to dispose of all that wrapping paper, it’s a lot safer (and better for the environment) to simply throw it in the recycling bin.
Which leads us to our next tip…
4) Only burn firewood
For some reason, some people confuse their fireplace with an incinerator. In other words, they think that anything can be safely burned in the firebox. This is simply not true. The only thing that should be burned in your fireplace is seasoned firewood which was made for that purpose.
If you are unfamiliar with types of wood not to burn, here are 8 kinds of wood that should never be put in your fireplace.
5) Get your chimney inspected before the season gets underway
Last, but certainly not least, it’s important to have your chimney inspected before the fire season starts. Your fireplace and chimney are made up of 7 distinct parts, all of which need to be undamaged for the system to function safely. Many homeowners simply aren’t able to diagnose serious problems like cracks or creosote buildup as well as a trained professional can. Be sure to have your fireplace inspected at least once a year before you begin using it.
Every year, homeowners use their fireplaces for warmth and decor. While most families enjoy their winter season without any problems, the tragic reality is that hundreds of thousands aren’t so lucky. To ensure that your home and family are well protected, follow these 5 fire safety tips.
Finally, if you’re located in Central Indianapolis, contact Chimney & Masonry Outfitters today to schedule your appointment and set yourself up for a long, warm and, most importantly, safe winter season!