Last year we published winter safety tips after there was several sad stories during the holiday season. Many of you read the paper and watched the local news of the tragedies involving fires and the devastating loss of life and property. Some of these fires were started because of fireplaces and could have been prevented by simple maintenance and safety. Some of these fires were started from holiday decorations and Christmas trees. The Rye fire department along with the US Fire Administration(USFA) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) would like to remind you of some safety tips to take this Holiday and winter season.
1. Clear the area surrounding the fireplace since debris could cause the fire to spread outside the area you want it.
2. Check the flue for obstructions such as bird nests. Trim overhanging branches and large trees from the area near the chimney.
3. Use a fireplace screen and make sure the damper is in the open position while the fire is burning. Once extinguished, close the damper to retain the heat.
4. Never leave the fire unattended. Always extinguish before you go to bed.
5. Have your fireplace cleaned and inspected annually. A dirty fireplace can cause chimney fires, inhibit proper venting of smoke up the flue and contribute to air pollution. The inspection will alert you of cracks or loose mortar that will need to be repaired.
6. Choose proper fuel for your fire. In general, hardwood firewood such as oak, ash, hickory, cedar etc. Always use seasoned wood preferably on a fireplace grate. Do not overload your fireplace with too many logs. A fire that is too large wastes fuel and can crack your chimney.
7. Keep a fire extinguisher on hand and test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors regularly.
8. Read and follow label instructions when using firelogs. Firelogs perform best when placed on a fireplace grate.
9. Make sure the embers and ashes are out and and no longer hot before cleaning out the fire place.
Christmas Tree and Holiday Safety Tips:
1. When putting up a new Christmas tree remember - KEEP THE TREE WATERED!
A watered tree is less likely to be a safety concern compared to a dry and neglected tree. Needles on fresh trees should be green and hard to pull back from the branches. Old trees can be identified by bouncing the tree trunk on the ground. If many needles fall off, the tree has been cut too long and, has probably dried out, and is a fire hazard.
2. Do not place your tree close to a heat source, including a fireplace or heat vent. The heat will dry out the tree, causing it to be more easily ignited by heat, flame or sparks. Do not put your live tree up too early or leave it up for longer than two weeks. Keep the tree stand filled with water at all times.
3. If you have an artificial tree, be sure it is labeled, certified, or identified by the manufacturer as fire retardant.
4.Never put tree branches or needles in a fireplace or wood-burning stove
5. All decorations should be nonflammable or flame-retardant and placed away from heat vents. If you are using a metallic or artificial tree, make sure it is flame retardant.
6.Wrapping paper in the fireplace can result in a very large fire, throwing off dangerous sparks and embers that may result in a chimney fire
7. Do not leave Holiday lights on unattended
8. Do not link more than three light strands, unless the directions indicate it is safe. Connect strings of lights to an extension cord before plugging the cord into the outlet. Make sure to periodically check the wires – they should not be warm to the touch.
We hope you enjoy the Holiday Season and have a happy, safe and healthy New Year!