According to a recent study, more Australians are killed in residential fires each year than through any other natural hazards - floods, storms and bushfires - combined*. So, before you cozy up to a fire this winter, make sure you follow a few simple safety tips.
Get your fireplace and chimney inspected and cleaned.
Some fires are the result of a build-up in the chimney flue called creosote, which is a biproduct of burning wood. When the temperature inside the flue gets high enough, the creosote can ignite, causing a chimney fire. Because flues are not designed for the high temperature of a direct fire, the flue material can crack or separate and allow the structural material of a house to catch fire.
Having your chimney professionally cleaned once a year to maintain your fireplace and chimney may prevent a lot of issues.
Properly dispose of fireplace ashes.
Place them in a metal bucket, allow them to cool for 12 -24 hours, wet them down, and move them outside until there are no more hot spots.
Install a spark arrestor.
A spark arrestor is a screen that covers the top of your chimney. It can prevent hot embers from flying out of the chimney, landing on, and igniting roofing material, leaves, or other debris on the roof.
Use a protective screen with a wood burning fireplace.
This screen will catch any stray embers before they can fly or pop out of your fireplace.
Use seasoned hardwood.
Softwood or unseasoned hardwood can create an excessive amount of creosote to build up in your chimney flue.
Keep your fire to a reasonable level.
While it may seem nice to have a roaring fire in the fireplace, creating excessive heat in the chimney can cause the flue to crack.
Stay by your fire, until it’s out.
Never go to sleep or leave your home while a wood burning fire is going. By being close by, you can make sure your fire stays under control – and you can enjoy its warmth and ambiance!