Fireplace Safety Tips - Preventing Fire Damage at Home

Fireplace Safety Tips – Preventing Fire Damage at Home

In this season, when the cold, bracing weather begins to set in, nothing beats the beauty and warmth of a nice, crackling fire in a fireplace. However, the joy and warmth you receive from this fire can lead to a disaster when safety precautions are not followed. Keep in mind that heating equipment, such as a fireplace, is one of the leading causes of house fires in winter. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), one-half of the home heating fires are reported during the months of December, January, and February. So, to enjoy the heat and smell of a crackling fire during this cold season and prevent injuries and fire damage in your home, follow these simple fireplace safety tips and precautions

 

What Causes Fireplace Fires

Fireplaces fail because of these reasons;

  • Blacked chimney flue or damper
  • Flying embers or sparks
  • Damaged fireplace components such as metal caps or missing bricks
  • Overloaded fires
  • Flammable items are too close to the fireplace

 

Fireplace Safety Tips that Help Prevent Fire Damage

Preventing fire damage from a fireplace begins with proper maintenance and precautions. 

  • Before using your fireplace this winter, have it inspected or maintained by a professional. 
  • Hire a qualified sweep to clean and remove any creosote and soot buildup from your fireplace and chimney. Furthermore, debris and other materials can accumulate and block your chimney, causing inadequate ventilation of your fireplace. 
  • Regularly inspect the chimney cap for any signs of damage. Replace or repair if necessary. 
  • Ensure that the chimney has a cap to prevent animals or debris from accumulating inside the chimney.
  • Do not throw in the trash, cardboard, and other debris inside your fireplace. These products can discharge toxins when burned in a fireplace. 
  • Burn only dry, seasoned wood. Wet or green wood can produce more fire that can be too much for the damper to handle. Also, cut the wood to the correct length.
  • Have a spark guard installed around the fireplace to prevent embers from coming out. 
  • Keep all flammable materials, like books, newspapers, furniture, and fabric at least 3 feet away from the fireplace.
  • Never leave your burning fireplace unattended. Always extinguish the fire before going to bed or leaving home. 
  • Keep children and pets away from the fireplace when it is in use. 
  • Use the proper tools like a brush, shovel, tongs, poker, or a long carrier to maintain the fire. 
  • Clean your firebox and remove ashes regularly or at least once a week during the colder months to prevent ash and soot from accumulating in your fireplace.
  • Close the damper when the embers have completely cooled down. 
  •  Place a fire extinguisher in the room where the fireplace is located.
  • Install smart devices like smoke detectors, alarms, and carbon monoxide detectors to alert you of any possible house fire. Furthermore, regularly inspect these devices to ensure that they are in good working condition. 

 

Safely Start A Fire 

  • Remove the ashes from the firebox before stacking some logs in your fireplace. But be sure that the ashes have already cooled down to prevent injuries. Dispose of old ashes and embers in a tightly sealed metal container. 
  • Open the chimney damper before starting a fire to ensure proper ventilation.
  • Ensure that your fireplace has a grate for safety purposes and to allow adequate airflow necessary to sustain combustion.
  • Use some crumpled paper and add some kindling underneath the grate to start a small fire. 
  • Place the logs at the back of the fireplace on top of the grate. Arranging the logs at the rear of the place will help prevent sparks and embers from getting out of the fireplace box.
  • Use a match or a lighter to start a fire. Remember not to use any flammable liquid in starting a fire. 
  • Keep your kindling burning until the wood catches fire and as the fireplace heat, gradually add more logs.
  • Always keep the fire small to lessen creosote buildup and generate less smoke.
  • Tightly close the metal-mesh screen or glass fireplace door to keep the hot embers inside the fireplace. 
  • You may consider opening your window slightly to allow fresh air intake. Outside air will help the fire to burn efficiently.

 

Professional Fire Damage Cleaning And Restoration Services

Following the above safety tips and precautions can help reduce the risk of a house fire and allow you to enjoy the cold weather of winter. But, if your fireplace fails and your home or building suffers from fire damage, contact a professional fire and smoke damage restoration company, like Superior Restoration, immediately. Fire, smoke, and soot can cause severe damage to properties. Thus, a quick response is crucial. 

Superior Restoration offers 24/7 emergency restoration services to help restore a fire-damaged home or business. We have professionals ready to respond and attend to your emergency. Contact our office today for quality fire damage cleaning and restoration services.

Fire Safety Tips To Prevent Workplace Fires

Fire Safety Tips To Prevent Workplace Fires

Fire prevention, whether in a home or business is a serious matter. In business, fire safety is often ignored probably because of the absence of a significant source of heat, which is the kitchen. But, offices carry risks as well. In fact, from the year 2011 to 2017, there was an average of 3,340 fires in business properties every year, resulting in $112 million in property damage, injuries, and casualties. Just like in homes, workplace fires can also be avoided and everyone in the office can be responsible for keeping the environment safe. So, to keep everyone safe in the building, learn these essential fire safety tips, as well as the steps you can take in case of an emergency. 

 

How To Prevent Workplace Fires

Clean Your Workplace 

Having a workplace with unorganized materials, paperwork, equipment, or debris can provide fuel to an already-started fire and restrict access to escape routes or other emergency exits. Organize and clean your workplace. Keep the clutter to a minimum and make a clear pathway to an exit, to prevent fire hazards as well as to help you get out of the building safely, in case of an emergency.  

Maintain Electrical Systems and Machinery

Keep electrical items and machines in good working order. Check electrical cords for signs of damage. Have professionals inspect and repair damaged wires. Also, avoid overloading power outlets with many electrical cords. Doing this reduces the possibility of overheating which can lead to workplace fires.

Designate Areas For Smoking

Employees should know the fire hazard of smoking inside the building. So, it is recommended that the designated area for smoking is outside of the building. Never smoke in storage areas or areas where chemicals are stored.  

Test Fire and Smoke Alarms

One of the simplest and most effective ways of preventing workplace fires is having well-functioned smoke detectors and fire alarms. The management should inspect and test these devices regularly. Having these devices in your building can make a huge difference in keeping your business and staff safe. 

Place Fire Extinguishers

Have the proper number and type of extinguishers in the building. Check them regularly and teach employees how to use them.

Keep Equipment Away From Combustible materials

Equipment that produces heat such as a microwave oven, should be placed away from combustible materials. Flammable materials and chemicals should be stored safely and away from heat-producing equipment. 

Post Emergency Exits 

Create an emergency exit diagram and post it in the building. Make sure that the emergency exits and routes are unobstructed.

Perform Fire Drills

Have the employees perform a periodic fire drill and create an evacuation procedure. This will allow you to ensure that everyone knows how to react in case of an emergency.

How To Respond To A Workplace Fire

Workplace fires can happen unexpectedly. So, it is very important to know what to do in case it occurs in your building. 

The first important steps to take are to activate your alarm system to alert all the employees and call 911. Remember not to hang up when talking to an emergency responder until he tells you to. 

You may consider extinguishing a small fire using a fire extinguisher if you are trained or you know how to use it. Otherwise, never use it. If the fire seems too big for you to handle or is getting uncontrollable, then you should leave the building. Make sure to carefully follow the escape routes and go to the designated meeting place. When exiting the building, close the doors and even the windows to prevent the fire from traveling further. 

When you are outside, never go back inside the building. If someone is missing, wait for the responders to arrive. 

Contact Superior Restoration For Professional Commercial Fire Restoration Services

Fire emergencies and disasters can occur anywhere, anytime, and to anyone. However, with smart policies, vigilance, and quick action, you will be able to avoid catastrophe or at least reduce the damage. Always follow the safety tips above, so you can keep yourself, others, and your workplace safe. And, if the fire hits your business, know that we, at Superior Restoration,  are here to help you get back on your business as quickly as possible. We have a team of experts that will work from cleaning up ash damage, removing soot and smoke odor, and restoring your fire-damaged equipment. 

We also provide commercial water damage restoration services. To learn more about our restoration services, you can contact us at 951-309-2123.