Message from the Chief – Check & Clean the Chimney

August 27, 2021

National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) study found that nearly three-fifths of home structure fires involving fireplaces, chimneys, and chimney connectors occur in December, January, and February.  January was the peak month for fireplace related injuries. Therefore,now is the time for you to take care of any needed maintenance.

Here are some safety tips to prevent fireplace & chimney fires:

  • Have a qualified professional inspect the fireplace and related structures
  • Clean fireplace and chimney annually
  • Burn seasoned firewood, not green wood, to reduce creosote and combustion byproducts
  • Do not burn plastic or use flammable fuels in the fireplace
  • Install a sturdy fireplace screen to control sparks
  • Keep fireplace hearth and area clear of combustibles – including pillows, rugs and furniture
  • Place a fire-retardant rug in front of the hearth
  • Use proper ventilation
  • Remove ashes when cooled and store in a metal container a safe distance outside the home
  • Create a 3-foot Kid-Free-Zone around fireplaces/wood burning stoves/heaters

As an added note, it is always safest to never leave a burning fire unattended when you retire for the evening.  The NFPA found that most fires involving fireplaces, chimneys, and chimney connectors occurred on weekends between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m.  Only 9% of fires occurred between midnight and 6 a.m., but these overnight fires accounted for 29% of civilian deaths, 35% of civilian injuries, and 25% of direct property damage.

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