Everyone gathered around the fireplace enjoying the holidays. It makes for a picture perfect scene, but without taking the proper precautions fireplaces can cause a fire hazard in an instant. 

Top 3 Fireplace Safety Tips

  • Check the chimney to ensure it is clear of debris.
  • A fireproof screen should be placed in front of the fire.
  • Do not dispose of hot ashes in a trashcan.

 

Fireplace and Home Fire Safety Tips From The U.S. Fire Administration

Keep Fireplaces and Wood Stoves Clean

  • Have your chimney or wood stove inspected and cleaned annually by a certified chimney specialist.
  • Clear the area around the hearth of debris, decorations and flammable materials.
  • Always use a metal mesh screen with fireplaces. Leave glass doors open while burning a fire.
  • Install stovepipe thermometers to help monitor flue temperatures.
  • Keep air inlets on wood stoves open, and never restrict air supply to fireplaces. Otherwise you may cause creosote buildup that could lead to a chimney fire.
  • Use fire-resistant materials on walls around wood stoves.

 

Safely Burn Fuels

  • Never use flammable liquids to start a fire.
  • Use only seasoned hardwood. Soft, moist wood accelerates creosote buildup.
  • Build small fires that burn completely and produce less smoke.
  • Never burn cardboard boxes, trash or debris in your fireplace or wood stove.
  • When building a fire, place logs at the rear of the fireplace on an adequate supporting grate.
  • Never leave a fire in the fireplace unattended. Extinguish the fire before going to bed or leaving the house.
  • Soak hot ashes in water and place them in a metal container outside your home.

 

Protect the Outside of Your Home

  • Stack firewood outdoors at least 30 feet away from your home.
  • Keep the roof clear of leaves, pine needles and other debris.
  • Cover the chimney with a mesh screen spark arrester.
  • Remove branches hanging above the chimney, flues or vents.

 

Protect the Inside of Your Home

  • Install smoke alarms on every level of your home and inside and outside of sleeping areas. Test them monthly and change the batteries at least once a year. Consider installing the new long life smoke alarms.
  • Provide proper venting systems for all heating equipment.
  • Extend all vent pipes at least three feet above the roof.


Tips from the U.S. Fire Administration.

Web Candle

On average 25 home candle fires start every day. The simple nature of candles having an open flame is the key to why they can be so dangerous. CCFR recommends using battery operated, flameless candles.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), more than half of all candle fires start because candles were too close to things that could catch fire.

If you use regular candles, they need to be:

• At least a foot away from anything that can burn (curtains, walls, lamps, Christmas trees, etc.)
• Attended at all times  (never leave a child alone in a room with a candle)
• Used in sturdy, enclosed candleholders
• Placed in areas where they cannot be tipped over
• Avoided in homes where oxygen is used

Avoid using candles in the bedroom, where more than one-third of home candle fires begin, or other areas where people may fall asleep. In the event of a power outage use flashlights or other battery-operated power, not candles to light your home.

 

Avoid using candles in the bedroom, where more than one third of home candle fires begin, or other areas where people may fall asleep.

Although gas grills are used roughly 1.5 times as often as charcoal grills, they were involved in five times as many fires.  Gas grills were involved in 6,400 home fires, including 2,100 structure fires and 4,300 outdoor fires. The key to not becoming a statistic is following some simple grilling safety tips from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

 

 

 

Safety Tips

  • Propane and charcoal BBQ grills should only be used outdoors.
  • The grill should be placed well away from the home, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
  • Keep children and pets away from the grill area.
  • Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in trays below the grill.
  • Never leave your grill unattended.

Charcoal Grills

  • There are several ways to get the charcoal ready to use. Charcoal chimney starters allow you to start the charcoal using newspaper as a fuel.
  • If you use a starter fluid, use only charcoal starter fluid. Never add charcoal fluid or any other flammable liquids to the fire.
  • Keep charcoal fluid out of the reach of children and away from heat sources.
  • There are also electric charcoal starters, which do not use fire. Be sure to use an extension cord for outdoor use.
  • When you are finished grilling, let the coals completely cool before disposing in a metal container.

Propane Grills

Check the gas tank hose for leaks before using it for the first time each year.  Apply a light soap and water solution to the hose. A propane leak will release bubbles. If your grill has a gas leak, by smell or the soapy bubble test, and there is no flame, turn off the gas tank and grill. If the leak stops, get the grill serviced by a professional before using it again. If the leak does not stop, call the fire department. If you smell gas while cooking, immediately get away from the grill and call the fire department. Do not move the grill.

Click here to watch an audio slide show about grilling safely.



Inspect holiday lights every year.

If you find:
• Frayed wire
• Bare spots
• Broken sockets
• The wires are warm to the touch
• They are not approved by UL or another testing laboratory
Then it is time to purchase new lights.

Never link more than three lights strands unless the directions say it is safe.
Connect the strings of lights to an extension cord before plugging into an outlet.