A fire in the fireplace makes for a comfortable and cozy atmosphere. Special precautions always should be followed, though, to keep that fire burning safely.
Here are a few guidelines:
¢ Make sure the fireplace was constructed for actual use, not decoration. Inspect it for adequate protective linings and smoke ducts, and check to see that the chimney is clear and in good repair. Creosote buildup can ignite a chimney fire that could easily spread.
¢ If installing a factory-made fireplace, ensure that it has adequate flame and heat barriers, and is not located near any combustible materials.
¢ Open the damper before lighting the fire, and keep it open until the ashes are cool. This will avert the build-up of poisonous gases.
¢ Always use a screen around the fireplace to prevent sparks from flying out.
¢ Teach children about the danger of fire. Never let them play with fire.
¢ Keep flammable materials such as carpets, pillows, furniture or papers away from the fireplace area.
¢ Always put out a fireplace fire completely before retiring for the night or when leaving the house.
Source: U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission