It’s a magical time of year – snow is falling, lights are twinkling, presents are wrapped, cookies and candy have been prepared. You’ve probably worked hard to get the house cleaned up and ready for guests, too. One thing that could spoil all this holiday happiness very quickly is a house fire caused by your wood fire! There are several precautions you should take when it comes to keeping your family safe and sound during this happy holiday season.
Keep the Area Clear
One of the easiest and most important things that you can do is to keep the area around your fireplace clear of any flammable materials. This can include furniture, decorative pillows, blankets, toys, magazines, books, or anything that will catch fire if hit by a stray spark or ember. It is also important to never leave small children alone in a room with a fire burning.
What You Use in the Fireplace
Another thing to consider is how to start your fire and what to use to burn. First of all, the wood you use should be very well seasoned. This means that it should have been dried for at least 6 months, and longer is even better. If you don’t cut your own firewood but purchase it instead, there are several ways to tell if it’s dry enough. First, dried wood is lighter in weight and in color than recently cut wood, and it may have cracks in it. Also, wet wood has a more pungent aroma than dry wood. Another easy way to tell if your wood is dry enough to burn is to hit two pieces together. The sound that this will make will be a hollow, ringing sound, not a dull thunk.
When you are looking for something to get the fire started, make sure that you are using proper kindling. Use small pieces of bark or twigs as a fire starter, not any type of flammable liquid or wrapping paper.
Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Another defensive tactic you definitely need to take is to have a smoke detector that works and that has batteries that are charged. Make sure you check your smoke detector on a regular basis and change the batteries every six months whether they need it or not. Another monitor that you’ll want to have up and running properly is your carbon monoxide detector. This is an important defense against carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon Monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas that can occur while a wood fire is burning and that can cause serious health issues, including nausea, dizziness, or headaches. In severe cases, this can cause you to pass out and, if exposure is too long, death could occur
Call Chimney Doctors of Colorado
If you have questions about holiday safety, call us here at Chimney Doctors of Colorado. We are happy to answer your questions to ensure your family’s safety during this festive season of joy!