Few things are as comforting as curling up by the glow of a fire on a cold winter’s night. Whether gas or wood-burning, a fireplace can add character, ambiance and, of course, warmth to any home.
Unfortunately, many homeowners don’t recognize or understand the dangers that a fireplace can pose, from carbon monoxide poisoning, to serious burns and even home fires. So before you light another fire in your fireplace or wood-burning stove, make sure you know what precautions to take to keep your home and family safe.
- First and foremost, make sure each level of your home is equipped with working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Test them regularly, and replace batteries twice a year or as needed.
- Keep toys, furniture, and any other flammable items at least three feet away from a fireplace or other heat source.
- Have your fireplace inspected and chimney cleaned by a professional service annually.
- Never burn anything in a fireplace that is not intended for that purpose. This includes plastic, Styrofoam, and cardboard. Only burn dry, well-seasoned hardwoods in a wood-burning fireplace. Do not place anything in a gas fireplace.
- Never leave a burning fire unattended, and consider using a gate or other barrier to keep children and pets away.
- Check that the fire is completely out, or that the gas is turned off, before going to bed or leaving the house.
- Make sure that your fireplace or stove vents to the outside.
Sometimes the things we overlook are the most obvious to begin with. You know, like walking around the house looking for your car keys when they’re already in your purse or pocket – that kind of thing. So as fundamental as these fireplace safety tips might seem, we hope you’ll keep this list handy for ongoing reference. Here at Baylor, your family’s health and well-being are tops on our list of priorities.