It’s easy to get caught up in the enjoyment of cozy fires and everything involved in the holiday season, but it’s very important to make fireplace safety a priority. Double the number of open-flame fires occur on Christmas Day, compared to average days, according to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA). The following are basic fireplace safety tips, to protect the home and family during the holidays.
Inspection & Safety Checks
Before using a fireplace or any type of heating system, they should be cleaned and inspected. If you haven’t had a chimney inspection in more than a year, getting it done before the holiday season gets fully underway is advisable. According to all fire safety experts, such as the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), all chimneys should be inspected at least once annually, whether the fireplace has been used heavily or very few times. Lack of maintenance is one of the most common causes of house fires that start in the chimney.
Make sure there is a smoke alarm with good batteries on each floor, in every bedroom, and outside the door of all bedrooms. Carbon monoxide detectors should also be checked, to ensure that the battery is working.
During the holidays, it’s an especially good idea to keep a fire extinguisher near any room that has a fireplace.
Fireplace Tips when Hosting Guests
A fireplace is perfect for a holiday gathering. To ensure a safe, warm environment, follow these tips:
- Keep a fire screen or gate in place anytime there’s a fire in the fireplace.
- Keep a watchful eye on young children at the get-together. Make sure they aren’t left alone in the room with a fireplace. Also, be sure they aren’t playing or sitting too close to the fire.
- Ask guests not to sit, dance, or stand too near the fire.
- Before going to bed or before leaving the house, be sure the fire is completely out.
Decorations and Gifts
During the Christmas season, there are more than the usual potential hazards near a fireplace. A decorated mantel can be absolutely stunning, but keep in mind that most decorations are highly flammable and should be kept a safe distance from the fireplace. Wrapped gifts should also be kept at least 3 feet away from the fireplace. Stockings should never be hung over the fireplace while there’s a fire in the fireplace.
Set up your Christmas tree as far away from the fireplace as possible. Live trees should be watered daily, to make sure the tree doesn’t dry out and become extremely dangerous. Like dried out live Christmas trees, artificial trees can also become consumed in flames within a minute.
Don’t Burn These Holiday Items
On Christmas Day, when presents are unwrapped, it’s important that the wrapping paper is kept well away from the fireplace, to prevent an accidental house fire. The paper should not be purposefully burned in the fireplace, either, because wrapping paper is toxic. Also, bits of paper are prone to float up and could increase the fire hazard.
It’s dangerous to burn a Christmas tree in a fireplace after the season is over because the tree isn’t seasoned. Unseasoned wood creates toxic fumes and a lot more pollution than dry wood.
Contact Chimney Solutions
If you need a chimney inspection, contact the CSIA-certified chimney experts at Chimney Solutions. We care about your safety, and we offer comprehensive chimney services, including chimney repair, chimney cleaning, chimney inspections, and rebuilds. Contact us today at 317-757-6979.