Winter is the worst time of year for home fires. Here are some tips for fireplace safety:
1. Make sure the damper is open before you light the fire, and don’t close it until the ashes are cool to the touch.
2. Never leave the house or go to sleep with a fire burning.
3. Keep combustible materials such as wood and paper a safe distance from the fireplace.
4. Use a fireplace screen to protect children, pets, and your carpet from hot embers.
5. Supervise children at all times around fireplaces.
6. Use a small amount of dry, well-seasoned firewood. Never overload. If you use artificial logs, follow the instructions on the package.
7. Have your chimney cleaned and serviced on a regular basis.
8. Never use gasoline or starter fluid close to or in your fireplace.
9. Place ashes in a metal container and take them outdoors.
10. Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and remember that adequate ventilation is key to keeping your fireplace safe.
In addition to following safe practices with your fireplace, you should have safeguards in place in the event something goes amiss. In addition to smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, consider investing in fire extinguishers and a sprinkler system. They can make your home safer and often earn you discounts on your home insurance premiums.