Fireplace & Wood Burning Stove Fire Safety
Fireplaces and wood burning stoves are auxiliary
home heating devices that demand care and attention in their
purchase, installation, and maintenance. Following these precautions
can reduce the possibility of a fire or injury related to their use.
All wood burning stoves and fireplaces should be
cleaned and inspected before the heating season begins. Make sure
that the door latch closes properly. Furnaces and water heaters
which have flue pipes attached to the chimney of a fireplace or wood
burning stove should have tight fitting joints and seams.
Fireplaces should be equipped with a tight fitting
spark screen or enclosed with glass doors to stop sparks from
landing on carpet or other nearby combustibles. Special retaining
screens can also keep children and pets at a safe distance from the
fire and so reduce the possibility of accidental burns.
Never use liquid fuel to start the fire in
a fireplace or wood burning stove.
Ashes need to be thoroughly dampened, cooled, and
stored in metal cans that are used solely for ash storage, not
in compost piles, cartons, boxes or anything else that is
It is important to use only thoroughly dried
hardwood. This will prevent or slow the buildup of creosote which is
the cause of many chimney fires.
Although following these precautions should
reduce your risk of a chimney fire, be aware of the signs of one and
know what to do if you encounter them -- a loud roar, sucking
sounds, shaking pipes, hot spots on wall or chimney, or smoke in the
house or apartment.
If you hear or see any of these sounds shut off
the fire's air supply, get everyone out of the house quickly, and
call 911 from a neighbor's phone.
There is something special about the feeling of
warmth and cheer that surrounds gathering around the hearth on a
cold winter night; take the time to make it a safe experience for
you and your family.