Football, hayrides and warm drinks by the fireplace are some of the simple pleasures of autumn. While winter is still a month away, it’s definitely time to settle in and enjoy your fireplace. But be
aware, heating equipment, including fireplaces and woodstoves, are some of the leading causes of home fire deaths in this country. A little prep work before lighting that first fire is a wise step.
Clean out any dust or cobwebs that may have accumulated. Always check to see that the damper is open to allow enough oxygen to fuel the fire. Make sure to close the damper once the fire is out. It’s always a good idea to keep a bucket of sand nearby in case you need to extinguish a fire quickly. Choose the right fuel for your fireplace and avoid diseased or moldy wood. Never burn treated wood as it would release harmful chemicals into the air. Use only dry kindling, newspaper or pine cones to start a fire – never chemicals such as charcoal starter. Most importantly, if you have a wood-burning fireplace, have your chimney cleaned and inspected by a qualified professional annually. Bird nests, cracks in the liner, creosote buildup and other issues are not always visible. Check your chimney cap as well. These mesh coverings keep out most unwanted wildlife intruders and keeps sparks from starting outside fires.
The National Fire Protection Association offers a few other tips to keep you warm and safe this winter:
Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from the fireplace. Keep children at least three feet away as well.
Make sure there is a sturdy screen or suitable barrier to prevent sparks from flying into the room.
Do not clean out ashes until they are completely cooled. Put them into a metal container and store it a good distance away from your home.
As you may not have used your fireplace during warmer weather, it’s a good idea to re-read the owner’s manual. Clean the fireplace of any dust or debris and make sure the outside vent is clear of any obstructions. Check to see if the blower is working properly. As with a wood fireplace, have your gas fireplace checked by a professional annually. And as always, check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors once a month. Remember, most house fires and carbon monoxide emergencies are preventable. Taking a few preventative measures today can ensure your home and family are protected this winter.
Delco Alarm Systems is a family-owned business and has been part of the community for decades. We are committed to helping you keep you and your family safe and secure.
For more information on fire and security systems call the professionals at Delco Alarm Systems, 610-494-9100.