Winter Safety Tips
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA):
- Generally, December, January and February are the deadliest months for fires.
- The top 10 days for home fires in recent years were all between December 24 and January 6.
- Cooking and heating are the leading causes of home fires in the months of December through February.
- Candle fires have nearly tripled in the past decade. Nearly twice as many home candle fires occur in December than any other month, perhaps because of holiday decorations and rituals.
Wood Stoves and Fireplaces
Wood Stoves and fireplaces are becoming a very common heat source in homes. Careful attention to safety can minimize their fire hazard.
To Use Them Safely:
- Be sure the fireplace or stove is installed properly. Woodstoves should have adequate clearance (36") from combustible surfaces, and proper floor support and protection.
- Woodstoves should be of good quality, solid construction and design, and should be UL listed.
- Have the chimney inspected annually and cleaned if necessary, especially if it has not been used for some time.
- Do not use flammable liquids to start or accelerate any fire.
- Keep a glass or metal screen in front of the fireplace opening to prevent embers or sparks from from going out, unwanted material from going in, and help prevent the possibility of burns to occupants.
- The stove should be burned hot twice a day for 15-30 minutes to reduce the amount of creosote buildup.
- Don't use excessive amounts of paper to build roaring fires in fireplaces. It is possible to ignite creosote in the chimney by overbuilding the fire.
- Never burn charcoal indoors. Burning charcoal can give off lethal amounts of carbon monoxide.
- Keep flammable materials away from your fireplace mantel. A spark from the fireplace could easily ignite these materials.
- Before you go to sleep, be sure your fireplace fire is out. NEVER close your damper with hot ashes in the fireplace. A closed damper will help the fire to heat up again and will force toxic carbon monoxide into the house.
- If synthetic logs are used, follow the directions on the package. NEVER break a synthetic log apart to quicken the fire or use more than one log at a time. They often burn unevenly, releasing higher levels of carbon monoxide.