FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Springfield Fire Department would like to wish everyone a safe and happy holiday season. During the last two weeks of November, we responded to two house fires that were related to improper maintenance of the fireplace. Please review the following safety tips to keep your family safe this holiday season:
- Be certain the damper or flue is open before starting a fire. Keeping the damper or flue open until the fire is out will draw smoke out of the house. The damper can be checked by looking up into the chimney with a flashlight or mirror. Do not close the damper until the embers have completely stopped burning.
- Use dry and well-aged wood that burns more evenly and with less smoke. Wet or green wood causes more smoke and contributes to soot buildup in the chimney.
- Clean out ashes from previous fires. Levels of ash at the base of the fireplace should be kept to 1 inch or less.
- The chimney should be checked annually by a professional.
- Even if the chimney is not due for cleaning, it is important to check for animal nests or other blockages that could prevent smoke from escaping.
- Make sure the area around the fireplace is clear of anything that is potentially flammable (ie: furniture, drapes, newspapers, books, etc.).
- Never leave a fire in the fireplace unattended. Make sure it is completely out before going to bed or leaving the house.
- Minimize your child's chance of burns from the hot glass front of some fireplaces, including gas fireplaces. Safety screens can be installed to reduce the risk of burns.
- Put fireplace tools and accessories out of a young child's reach. Also, remove any lighters and matches. Talk with children as early as possible the dangers of fires and the heat coming from them.
- Keep a fire extinguisher on hand.
The Springfield Fire Department provides free smoke alarms to the citizens of Springfield. If your smoke alarm is older than 10 years, please contact us at 417-874-2300 or visit us online at www.springfieldmo.gov/fire. For media only: For more information, call the Springfield Fire Department media line at 417-874-2301.