Your Family

Nov 17, 2009 7:15 PM by Kristen Oato

Fireplace safety tips

As the winter months approach, many people will begin using their fireplaces to stay warm. The Santa Barbara County Fire Department and the Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District are warning people to use good judgement when burning wood in fireplaces.

These kinds of fires can cause emergencies and pose serious safety risks. Breathing wood smoke can reduce lung function, aggravate heart and lung disease, and also trigger asthma.

Here are some suggestions for fireplace safety:

Use a gas log if you can

Be a good neighbor and notice your smoke

Don't burn trash

Clean your chimney

If you use artificial logs, do not treat them the same as real wood logs

Never use gasoline, charcoal lighter or other fuel to light or relight a fire because vapors can explode

Do not allow small children near the fireplace

Never leave a fire unattended

Have basic safety equipment on hand

Be sure no flammable materials hang down from or decorate your mantel

Never close your damper with hot ashes in the fireplace

Make sure you have good ventilation in the room

Save your fireplace or wood stove for special occasions

Be sure all ashes have thoroughly cooled before you dispose of them

Replace your wood stove with a cleaner-burning wood stove certified by the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), or install an EPA-certified fireplace insert.

For more info, go to www.OurAir.org

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