It’s a classic holiday image: family and friends gathered ’round the fireplace on a cold, wintry night, enjoying eggnog and warm baked cookies together. Whether it’s to warm up after a night of caroling, sitting around with family and friends, or cozying up with the kiddos to read ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas; it’s important to follow several fireplace safety precautions to ensure the safety of your loved ones this holiday season.
Precaution #1: Safety Checks
Soot can harden on chimney walls as flammable creosote, which is why it’s so very important for all fireplaces to be thoroughly inspected, and just as thoroughly cleaned by professional before each burning season. An annual chimney cleaning is an important first step in ensuring a safe season of heating, and should be completed at the beginning of the new fall or winter season. Checking the batteries of all fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors in your home is also advised.
Precaution #2: Tree Placement
When decorating for the holidays, make sure that all decorations including the tree itself, is placed a safe distance from the blazing fire. It takes less than 30 seconds for a tree to engulf into flames – especially a dry one. To minimize risk, place trees and other live greenery at least three feet away from heating sources, such as the fireplace. While artificial trees don’t pose as great a risk, they too should be kept three feet away from heating sources; make sure yours is flame-retardant.
Precaution #3: No Dangling Decorations
When decorating your fireplace mantel for the holiday, keep combustible material (e.g. holiday greenery, ribbons, stockings, etc) safely on or above the mantel, not draping over the edge. One stray ember or spark can far too easily ignite any exposed decorations. You can hang decorations from the mantel on one condition: There’s no fire in the fireplace. Before starting a fire, move your stockings and decorations away from the mantel, as its always better to be safe than sorry.
Precaution #4: Watch the Gifts Too
It is recommended that you keep all holiday gifts a safe distance – a minimum of three feet – from a burning fire. Because most wrapping paper contains additives, it can go up in flames almost instantaneously! In addition to keeping the gifts a safe distance away, you should also refrain from discarding trash in your fireplace, including wrapping paper and boxes. Keep an operable fire extinguisher nearby in the event of accidental fireplace mishaps. Never dispose of your tree or other live greenery by burning it in your fireplace.
The winter holidays, spent with family and friends, should take center stage! Keep your festivities both merry and safe this Holiday by following these simple but important Holiday fireplace safety precautions. From all of us at Banker Insulation, we want to wish you a very happy and safe holiday season!