Fireplaces keep a family warm and cozy on many cold winter evenings. With cloudy days short and snowy nights long, fireplaces are one of the best ways to keep the home warm. However, they pose many more safety risks than central heating units. In order to avoid injuries or house fires, all homeowners should know how to properly use and maintain their fireplaces.
Avoid Storing Flammable Items Near a Fireplace
Flammable items should never be stored close to a fireplace. Chemicals, cleaners, and combustible items should be stored far away, as well as out of reach of children or pets. These items could explode if they become too hot. Fabric, paper, furniture, or wood should be kept away from the fire place as well. A single ember could cause an item to catch on fire; as the wood in the fireplace pops, small embers could be sent in the direction of those items. A fireplace screen can help reduce this risk.
Avoid Burning Unsafe Material
The only items that should be burned in a fireplace are approved materials. For the standard fireplace, this would mostly be split logs and safe fire starter bricks. Plastics, chemicals, trash, and other unsafe items should not be burned. A chimney sweep Maryland is recommended for fireplaces that have had dangerous or toxic items burned in them. This will clean the chimney and remove excess unsafe material from it, making the fireplace far safer to use.
Keeping Children and Pets At a Safe Distance
Pets and children should never be allowed to get too close to the fire. They risk serious injuries and burns, especially if they do not realize how dangerous fire is. Some children are amazed by fire and love to burn things; this can become a serious situation very quickly. If an animal or a child gets burned, a vet or doctor should be called.
Putting Out the Flame
If the fireplace will be left unattended, such as while the family sleeps or leaves home to shop, the fire should be fully extinguished. Fires should never be left unattended. While it is an unlikely situation, flames could escape from the fireplace should a log roll out or pop. This can cause a house fire very fast. It is always better to be safe rather than sorry, especially when playing with fire.
Fire safety is crucial for the well being of the family and the home. Many fireplace related fires are preventable with some precautions and proper maintenance procedures.