Hints & HELP!
by Lorene Bartos, Extension Educator
This article appeared in the December
14, 2003 Lincoln Journal Star Newspaper.
The cold wintery weather is here. Fireplace safety is important.
As families use fireplaces to warm the home and for the
cozy atmosphere everyone must be aware of potential hazards.
Before using the fireplace for the first time be sure to
check the chimney for bird nests.
safety tips when starting a fire include:
Keep the fire in the fireplace by having a safety screen
or tempered glass door large enough to catch sparks.
Make sure the damper is open before lighting the fire.
a fire warning device in the house.
a fire extinguisher near the fireplace.
only enough fuel to keep the fire at the desired temperature.
not use gasoline or other flammable liquids to start
not burn holiday wrapping paper, magazines or colored
newspapers in the fireplace, as they may give off toxic
burn trash, paper or green wood as they can cause heavy
creosote buildup. Hardwoods are the best choice to burn.
using coal or charcoal in the fireplace as they give
off deadly amounts of carbon monoxide.
place the logs to the rear of the fireplace on a supporting
grate and never use too many logs.
Build fires that will burn completely.
Keep children and pets away from the fireplace to reduce
the chance of fire and accidental burns.
removing ashes, be sure they are cooled completely before
disposing of them. It is best to put them in a metal
container with a lid.
make sure the fire is out before going to bed or leaving
Fireplaces require a lot more air than is needed for
normal ventilation. In today's tightly constructed houses
incorporating weather-stripped doors, caulked windows
and self-closing exhaust vents, a fireplace can set
up reverse draft and such poisonous carbon monoxide
fumes from combustion-type (natural gas, etc.) water
heats or furnaces and discharge them into the living
area. In order to be safe, a positive source of outside
air should be supplies to all fireplaces and wood or
coal burning stoves to bring in enough fresh air for
efficient burning. This can be done by installing an
outside air vent or opening a window when the fireplace
or stove is being used.
When disposing of your Christmas tree, recycle it -
don't burn it in the fireplace.
the warmth of your fireplace, just remember to use safety
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