Fireplace Safety Essentials
Fireplaces provide warmth and comfort, but they also pose fire hazards if not used properly. Below are fireplace safety tips every homeowner should know about to protect their home and family from a fire.
Cleaning the Fireplace
Creosote is a byproduct of burning wood that builds up in the fireplace over time. For fireplace safety, clean your chimney each year before the first fire of the season to remove creosote, which can cause a chimney fire. It’s best to hire a professional to clean your chimney. They will also let you know if they see any issues and recommend other maintenance or repairs.
Test the Smoke Alarms for Fireplace Safety
This is an important safety tip because if your smoke alarms are not working properly, you won’t be alerted to a fire. Test your smoke alarms at least once per month. If there is no response from an alarm when testing it, replace the battery. If there is no chirp from a fresh battery, replace the unit.
Install smoke alarms in bedrooms and other sleeping areas, and in the kitchen, attic, and basement. Also, install smoke alarms in hallways outside of bedrooms and at the top of each stairwell.
Keep Fire Extinguishers Handy
Your home should be equipped with fire extinguishers so you can put out a small fire should one occur. Keep one in the kitchen, laundry room, and basement. Store your fire extinguisher in an accessible and easy-to-reach area nearby for fireplace safety. Check the fire extinguishers when you test your smoke alarms to make sure that they are pressurized and able to perform.
Be Careful When Using an Extinguisher
You should never aim the fire extinguisher nozzle toward yourself or other people, as they contain chemicals that can cause breathing problems. If someone’s clothes catch fire, smother the flames with a blanket or have them stop, drop, and roll. This means to stop where you are, drop to the ground while protecting your eyes and mouth, and roll back and forth until the flames are out.
Only use an extinguisher on a small fire to keep it from spreading. To use, aim the nozzle away from you and focus on the base of the fire while sweeping the fire extinguisher from side-to-side. Read your fire extinguisher’s instructions before use and make sure that your family knows how to use it.
Don’t Leave Your Fire Unattended for Fireplace Safety
An unattended fireplace can be dangerous to children and pets. Never leave your fire burning without proper supervision. If you have an outdoor fire pit and are entertaining guests, make sure someone is responsible for watching it at all times. A fire can start and spread very quickly and cause a lot of damage and injury before it’s noticed.