While cozying up, it's worth noting that live fire can be a source of great danger if not controlled right. Here are a few tips on how to keep your family and home safe from fires in the winter - and all throughout the year:
- Have your chimney inspected and cleaned annually by a certified chimney specialist.
- Make sure there's a enough of fresh air flowing into the space where a sauna or a fireplace is burning wood. Allowing the fire to receive enough air ensures complete combustion and keeps creosote from building up in the chimney.
- After the fire is out, try to avoid drafts to keep embers from getting out of the fireplace.
- Never leave a candle or a fireplace unwatched!
- Clear out flammable items from near the fire.
- Make sure you have a fire blanket easily available in the kitchen area and that you know how to use one.
- Gather the family around and talk about fire exits, how to use the fire blanket and the extinguisher, and when to call 112.
- Have your fire extinguisher checked yearly (if kept in a cold or changeable environment) or biennially (when kept in a warm space). If you're not sure how to use one, please take a moment to read through this.
- Test your fire alarms and CO detectors regularly, and change the battery when needed. Please note that a reliable working life of an alarm extends no further than 10 years.
- Be aware that carbon monoxide is a clear, odorless and potentially fatal gas produced by home heating systems, hot water heaters, faulty chimneys, kerosene or fuel oil room heaters, gas stoves, fireplaces, charcoal grills and car exhaust. Have your home heating system and car inspected and serviced annually.
- Never use flammable liquids to start a fire - especially in a fireplace inside your home. Use only dry, well-seasoned hardwood. Soft, moist wood accelerates creosote buildup in your chimney.
- Build small fires that burn completely and produce less smoke. Never burn cardboard boxes, trash or debris in your fireplace.
- Be careful not to overload electrical outlets. Maintain your holiday lights. Inspect them each year for frayed wires, bare spots, gaps in the insulation, broken or cracked sockets, and excessive wear before putting them up.
- Place candles in stable holders and place them where they cannot be easily knocked down. Favour natural materials in candles over paraffin, which can cause serious issues to your health.
Have a safe and a fun wintertime!