The cold winter chills means that more of us are using our fireplaces. The U.S. Fire Administration says that about one-third of all Americans use fireplaces, wood stoves and other fuel-fired appliances as their primary heating source.
While a toasty fire can be soothing and comforting, it also comes with certain risks. If your home has a fireplace, there are certain precautions you need to take to protect your home and family.
The Chimney Safety Institute of America shows that there are more than 24,000 chimney fires in U.S. homes each year. Heating fires account for 36% of all home fires in rural areas.
Here are some fireplace safety tips to protect against home fires:
· Get your chimney, fireplace or wood burning stove inspected. Have a certified chimney specialist check the chimney, fireplace or word burning stove annually.
· Keep it clean. Keep the area in front of the fireplace or stove free from flammable items.
· Clean the roof. Make sure there is nothing on the roof that could catch fire from a spark. Keep your roof clear of leaves, twigs and bird’s nests.
· Store firewood away from your home. Experts suggest firewood should be stored at least 30 feet from your home.
· Use only seasoned hardwoods. Never burn paper, cardboard or flammable liquids. Always burn seasoned hardwoods.
· Open glass doors. Let the mesh screen keep embers inside the fireplace. Keeping the glass doors open allows warm air to flow into your home.
· Close glass doors when not in use. This prevents cold air from the chimney from getting into your home.
· Get smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. The best kinds you can have are monitored smoke and carbon monoxide detectors installed by a professional home security company. These detectors are different than smoke detectors you can buy from a big box home store. They’re more sensitive plus they can be monitored to summon help when needed. The big box detectors aren’t as sensitive and they can’t summon professional help.
Never, ever leave your fire unattended. In the event of an emergency, get your family out of the home and contact 911. Don’t try to extinguish the fire yourself. Get help.
My Alarm Center protects homes and families just like yours with smoke and carbon monoxide fire detection systems. Call us at 855-334-6562 to learn more about monitoring service from My Alarm Center.