Fireplace Safety Tips

Fireplace Safety Tips 

Do you have a wood burning stove or fireplace in your home or garage?  If so, you will want to keep in mind these important safety tips to reduce the risk of a potentially deadly situation.  It is very important that when you are dealing with a fireplace, safety is the number one priority.

  • Before you use your fireplace each year you should always have your chimney inspected and cleaned by a professional to ensure there aren’t any blockages or build-ups.  Having a clogged chimney could result in carbon monoxide filling your home, which is a very dangerous situation.
  • Keep all flammable items a good distance away from your fireplace; this includes wood that you have stored, decorations hanging from your mantle and newspapers or matches used to start your fire.
  • NEVER use gasoline or lighter fluid to start your fire.  You will always want to start your fire slowly and build it up as you go.  It is suggested that you use fire starting logs or kindling
  • Always make sure you have use screening for your fireplace to ensure that any sparking embers don’t fly onto your rugs or flooring.
  • You should never leave young children alone while you have your fireplace or wood stove going.  It’s not a good idea to leave a fire unattended at all, but imperative that children are always supervised.
  • Install smoke, carbon monoxide detectors and a fire extinguisher in or near the area where your fire is.  At many local hardware stores, you can find a detector that monitors both smoke & carbon monoxide and can be hard wired or battery operated at a reasonable price.  Place the fire extinguisher in close proximity so in case of emergency it can be reached for easily.  Be sure you familiarize yourself with how to use your extinguisher and regularly inspect them to make sure they are fully charged, as they do have expiry dates on them.
  • Check that your damper is open before lighting your fire so you don’t end up with a room filled with smoke
  • Use caution when disposing of soot and ashes.  You will want to make sure the ashes have cooled completely before cleaning out your fireplace or stove and always dispose of the debris into a metal container.  Using a cardboard box or plastic container will only increase your chances of causing a fire outside of your fireplace or stove.
  • For families with children especially, sit down and make a plan of escape should anything happen and your fire spreads or gets out of hand.  Practise getting out safely and do regular fire drills with your kids.

Now that you have covered all safety concerns and issues there is only one thing left to do……….sit back, relax, put your feet up and enjoy your cozy, warm fire with a nice cup of hot coco.

Bryson Bumstead is a certified Master Inspector and a Licensed Plumber with over 30 years of experience in the construction field. BDB Home Inspections provides professional assessments in the Southern Georgian Bay area.