A lighted tree…brightly colored presents…hanging decorations…and chestnuts roasting over an open flame – it’s a classic holiday scene. Whether it’s to warm up after a night of caroling, sitting around with family and friends, or cozying up with the kids to read ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas; it’s important to following Holiday Fireplace Safety Tips to ensure the safety of your loved ones this holiday season.
#1: Safety Checks
Soot can harden on chimney walls as flammable creosote, which is why it’s so very important for all fireplaces to be thoroughly inspected, and just as thoroughly cleaned by a professional before each burning season. An annual chimney cleaning is an important first step in ensuring a safe season of heating, and should be completed at the beginning of the new fall or winter season. Checking the batteries of all fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors in your home is also advised.
#2. Hang Stockings with Care
‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, in hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there.” There’s a reason we bolded “the stockings were hung by the chimney with care.” Never hang stockings, or any other decorations, in front of a burning fire. One stray ember can quickly ignite any exposed decorations. Stockings can be hung when the fire is not lit, but should be relocated before starting a fire.
#3. Steer Your Tree Clear
When decorating for the holiday, make sure to position your tree a safe distance – three feet – from any and all heating sources, including fireplaces. It takes less than 30 seconds for a tree to engulf a room in flames – especially a dry one. While artificial trees don’t pose as great a threat, it’s still important to position them three feet away from heating sources, as well as to ensure they’re flame-retardant. The same three foot rule applies to all live greenery.
#4. Use Candles with Care
Keep candles away from combustible items such as live greenery, wrapping paper, and stockings. Be sure candles are kept far enough back that children can’t reach them. Extinguish candles each time you leave a room. Better yet: consider using battery-operated candles to illuminate your home or holiday event. Battery-operated candles are now available in a wide variety of sizes, styles, colors, and functions.
#5. Recycle Your Wrap
Wrapping paper can go up in flames almost instantaneously. Because of this, it is highly recommended that you do not discard wasted wrapping paper or gift bags/boxes in your fireplace, for any reason. If opening presents near a blazing fire, keep an operable fire extinguisher nearby, just in case. In addition to wrapping supplies, never dispose of your tree by burning it in your fireplace. Washington offers several options for the proper disposal of your holiday tree.
Warm wishes for a wonderful and safe holiday season from all of us at Carrig and Dancer!