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Fireplace safety tips for peace of mind during the winter months

Everyone loves sitting in front of a fireplace, especially in the winter months. However, it can be a dangerous part of your home if safety measures are not taken. Here are ways to have a safer enjoyment of your family’s fireplace.

Fireplace safety tips for peace of mind during the winter months

  • Teach little ones about the dangers of fire.
  • Consider heat resistant glass to block the fireplace. They may be safer than open fireplaces and can be turned off and on with a click of a switch. However if a fire is going, the glass and surrounding metal is hot, so make sure to prevent your little ones from touching it.
  • Hearth gates work well too. This keeps curious little hands from touching the potential hot surfaces of a fireplace.
  • Keep fireplace tools out of reach of children. Little ones will want to play with them, which can cause injury.
  • Never leave your little one in a room with a burning fire. Keep everything you will need with you. (food, phone, drinks, etc.) And if you have to leave, bring your child with you.
  • Have your fireplace inspected annually. Make sure it has proper heat barriers, protective linings, and heat ducts.
  • Open the damper before lighting a fire. This prevents poisonous gas to build up inside your home. Keep the damper open until the ashes have cooled.
  • Never use flammable liquid to start (or relight) a fire. The vapors can explode.
  • Keep flammable liquids away from a fireplace. The vapors can travel and explode.
  • Artificial logs are not the same as real logs. Artificial logs, like Duraflame, are made of compressed sawdust, vegetable and plant wax, and other recycled ingredients (i.e. ground nutshells or coffee grounds). So follow the instructions carefully and burn only one log at a time. Also, make sure to not add another log until the fire is completely out.
  • Do not overload your fireplace. This can lead to overheating, which can create a fire.
  • Always use the screen around the fireplace. This keep sparks from flying out.
  • Keep flammable materials away from the fireplace. Things like Christmas trees, pillows, and furniture should be at least 3 feet away from a fireplace.
  • Always allow fireplace and woodstove ashes to cool before throwing away the ashes. And only use a metal container that is a safe distance away from your house.
  • Make sure that the fire is completely out before going to bed or when leaving the house.
  • Make sure you have carbon monoxide (CO) alarms in your home to avoid the risk of CO poisoning.
  • Finally, test smoke and CO alarms once a month to ensure they are working properly. And change their batteries once a year.