Fireplace, Stove, and Heater
Home Fire Safety
Each year fire claims the lives
of 4,000 Americans, injures tens of thousands, and causes billions of dollars
worth of damage. People living in rural areas are more than twice as likely
to die in a fire than those living in mid-sized cities or suburban areas.
Wood stoves cause over 9,000 residential fires every year. More than one-third
of Americans use fireplaces, wood stoves and other fuel-fired appliances
as primary heat sources in their homes. Unfortunately, many people are
unaware of the fire risks when heating with wood and solid fuels. The misuse
of wood stoves, portable space heaters and kerosene heaters are especially
common risks in rural areas.
Heating fires account for
36% of residential home fires in rural areas every year. Often these fires
are due to creosote buildup in chimneys and stovepipes. All home heating
systems require regular maintenance to function safely and efficiently.
The Haworth Volunteer Fire
Department and the United States Fire Administration (USFA) encourage you
to practice the following fire safety steps to keep those home fires safely
burning. We believe rural fire problems can be reduced by teaching people
to recognize the hazards. By following some of the outlined precautionary
steps, individuals can greatly reduce their chances of becoming a fire
casualty.Remember, fire safety is your personal responsibility... Fire
Stops With You!
Keep Fireplaces and Wood
Safely Burn Fuels
Carefully follow the manufacturer's
installation and maintenance instructions.
Look for solid construction,
such as plate steel or cast iron metal.
Check for cracks and inspect
legs, hinges and door seals for smooth joints and seams.
Inspect and clean your pipes
and chimneys annually and check monthly for damage or obstructions.
Fireplaces regularly build
up creosote in their chimneys. They need to be cleaned out frequently and
chimneys should be inspected for obstructions and cracks to prevent deadly
chimney and roof fires.
Clear the area around the hearth
of debris, decorations and flammable materials.
Always use a metal mesh screen
with fireplaces. Leave glass doors open while burning a fire.
Use a screen heavy enough to
stop rolling logs and big enough to cover the entire opening of the fireplace
to catch flying sparks.
Install stovepipe thermometers
to help monitor flue temperatures.
Check to make sure the damper
is open before starting any fire. Keep air inlets on wood stoves open,
and never restrict air supply to fireplaces. Otherwise you may cause creosote
buildup that could lead to a chimney fire.
Use fire-resistant materials
on walls around wood stoves.
Don't wear loose-fitting clothes
near any open flame.
Be sure to keep combustible
objects at least three feet away from your wood stove.
Protect the Outside of Your
Never use flammable liquids
to start a fire.
Use only seasoned hardwood.
Soft, moist wood accelerates creosote buildup.
Build small fires that burn
completely and produce less smoke.
Never burn cardboard boxes,
trash or debris in your fireplace or wood stove.
When building a fire, place
logs at the rear of the fireplace on an adequate supporting grate.
Never leave a fire in the fireplace
unattended. Extinguish the fire before going to bed or leaving the house.
Soak hot ashes in water and
place them in a metal container outside your home.
Store cooled ashes in a tightly
sealed metal container outside the home.
Protect the Inside of Your
Stack firewood outdoors at
least 30 feet away from your home.
Keep the roof clear of leaves,
pine needles and other debris.
Cover the chimney with a mesh
screen spark arrester.
Remove branches hanging above
the chimney, flues or vents.
Electric Space Heaters
Install smoke alarms on every
level of your home. Test them monthly and change the batteries at least
once a year. Consider installing the new long life smoke alarms.
Provide proper venting systems
for all heating equipment.
Extend all vent pipes at least
three feet above the roof.
Buy only heaters with the Underwriter's
Laboratory (UL) safety listing.
Check to make sure it has a
thermostat control mechanism, and will switch off automatically if the
heater falls over.
Heaters are not dryers or tables;
don't dry clothes or store objects on top of your heater.
Space heaters need space; keep
combustibles at least three feet away from each heater.
Always unplug your electric
space heater when not in use.
Finally, having a working smoke
alarm dramatically increases your chances of surviving a fire. And remember
to practice a home escape plan frequently with your family.
Buy only UL-approved heaters.
Never fill your heater with
gasoline or camp stove fuel; both flare-up easily.
Only use crystal clear K-1
Never overfill any portable
Use the kerosene heater in
a well ventilated room.