The holiday season is often a hectic time of year. Schedules become busy, family comes to town, and finances are tight. During this stressful time it’s important to remember how dangerous the fireplace can be—because the holidays are a favorite time for fireplaces! There’s nothing better than lounging in the evenings next to a warm hearth, opening presents in front of a real fire, or the ambiance of a crackling flame on a quiet night. Through all the merriment, it’s important to remember fire safety, and to remind your family and guests about fire safety while you’re at it.
Clean Chimney, Safe Chimney
Before the winter season is a great time to schedule your annual chimney inspection and chimney sweep. Soot and creosote buildup can cause a drop in efficiency as it disrupts the flow of air through the flue. Creosote is also highly flammable as the buildup becomes more severe. Level three buildup, or glazed creosote, can cause a devastating fire if conditions allow. Having your chimney system cleaned and inspected before the holidays means you will
- avoid a smoky chimney
- burn less wood to reach the desired temperature
- have less risk of flue fire and carbon monoxide exposure
Tips for Safe Day-to-Day Use
When your system is installed and when seasons change is the time to install or check your carbon monoxide and smoke detectors. These devices can save your life and prevent injury, death, and property loss.
Other things to remember are:
- Never leave a fire unattended.
Make sure the fire is out completely before you leave the house or go to bed for the night.
- Never leave children unattended with a fire.
Utilize gates and screens to prevent burns and falls that can result in injury. Teach children to stay away from the fireplace even when the fire is not lit.
- Choose people who are allowed to tend the fire, and make sure everyone else knows they are not allowed to.
Choose adults who understand fire safety and who will take responsibility for the children, family, and pets in the area while the fire is lit.
- Follow the care and operating instructions from your manufacturer and your professional chimney sweep.
- Burn only appropriate fuels in your fireplace.
You should never burn trash, clothes, or cook food items in your gas fireplace. Burn only properly seasoned wood in your wood-burning fireplace. This cuts down on pollution, smoke, creosote, and raises the efficiency and heat output of your fireplace. Burning anything other than wood is dangerous, as light items like leaves and paper can rise up the chimney while burning, igniting the flue.
- Use appropriate fireplace tools to stoke your fire and rearrange logs.
Long leather gloves and poker/shovel/brush combos are available at most home improvement stores.
- Review fireplace safety tips with your children regularly.
- Create an escape plan in case of fire and make sure that you have two routes of escape.
Visit firepreventionweek.org for more helpful tips and family resources for fire prevention.
The Mad Hatter wishes all of our customers and neighbors in the Indianapolis area happy, safe, and warm holidays. If we can help your family stay warm and safe this winter, call and speak to a chimney expert today.