Ten Fireplace Safety Tips
An open fireplace is a wonderful asset - it looks great, creates warmth, reduces heating bills and, when the temperature plummets, it’s a feature that the whole family can gather round and enjoy. But no matter how inviting a crackling fire is, there are some home safety measures to adhere to so your fireplace doesn’t become a hazard.
A total of 15 per cent of all UK fires start in the home; and although most of these are caused by cigarette ignition, misuse of equipment and appliances, each year fire-fighters are called to tackle chimney fires. The good news is that according to government figures, the number of chimney fires has reduced dramatically (by a quarter) to 7,600 in 2011-12. This could be for a number of reasons, such as increased awareness and greater use of smoke alarms – but regardless of this drop in statistics, it is always vital to take extra care when using a home fire. Read on to find Big K’s ten fire safety tips to keep you safe during the winter period.
Big K sell a variety of solid winter fuel for home delivery including seasoned hardwood logs, smokeless fuel, anthracite coal, kindling, house coal and heat logs. Click on the above link to find out more about our products.
Safety Tips for Open Fires
- Contact a Chimney Sweep – Before you start using your fire after the long summer, it is important to get your chimney cleaned to get rid of a potentially dangerous build up of soot and creosote. How often you need to do this depends on a number of factors including type of fuel used, the sort of chimney you have, and how often you use it. As a general guide though, smokeless fuel users should have their chimney swept once a year, rising to quarterly for wood or coal users. Another benefit of chimney sweeps is that they can also check chimneys for damage.
- Don't Leave Children/Pets Unaccompanied – It goes without saying that very young children and pets should never be left unsupervised near an open fire as they won’t be fully aware of the risks. If you have to pop out of the room for a few minutes, take your little ones with you.
- Use a Fire Guard – This is an essential as it creates a barrier between the fire and your home. Fires spit sparks and pieces of wood onto rugs and household furniture, causing an immediate risk.
- Reduce Fireplace Clutter – The vicinity around your fire should be clutter free – again to prevent sparks setting light to your home. Regardless of whether or not you have a fire guard in place, move rugs and other furniture a safe distance from your open fire.
- Use Cleaner Fuel - Smokeless fuel is cleaner than other forms of fuel because it leaves less of a build-up in the chimney. If you are using wood, kiln dried logs and seasoned hardwood logs, are cleaner than green or freshly cut wood, and are more efficient too as they generate a greater heat output for a longer period of time.
- Keep Flammables Away from the Fire - It is stating the obvious but there are a number of flammable objects that can be found around the home. Keep flammables such as oil, lighter fuel, paint solvents, alcohol and even nail polish away from the fire - and never put them on a naked flame.
- Don't Overload the Fire – Be careful about how much wood you are using on the fire. It is always best to burn a few logs at a time, rather than overload your fire with too much fuel. Also, don’t be tempted to burn household rubbish or newspapers on the fire as it can quickly escalate out of control.
- Dispose of Ash and Embers Safely – To do this, allow ashes and firewood to cool first before transferring them into a metal bucket. Wet the contents of the bucket completely before disposing of the water outside, and then transfer the ashes and debris to an outdoor bin.
- Install a Smoke Alarm – Government statistics reveal more than a third of the householders that reported house fires in the UK, from 2011-12, had no smoke alarms, yet these are a life saver. It is vital to think smart and install a smoke alarm; also keep a fire extinguisher to hand.
- Keep Birds Out – This is important to prevent birds nesting on top of your chimney which can be extremely hazardous as it could block the chimney or set the nest on fire. Having a chimney cap installed is one way to keep nesting birds at bay.
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