Don't Let Your Cozy Fire Get Out of Control
Even in Florida, the warm glow of a hearth or outdoor fire pit adds a cozy ambiance to wintertime gatherings.
Just be sure to take safety precautions.
- Have a fireplace chimney cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional
- Make sure a fireplace flue or damper is open before starting a fire. The opening draws smoke up the chimney and out of a building.
- A fireplace must have a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room. Ashes should be cool before putting them in a metal container, which then is placed a safe distance from any residence.
- Inside the home, install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in every bedroom, and in hallways leading to bedrooms.
- Keep anything that can burn at least three-feet away from a fireplace or other indoor heating equipment such as a furnace, wood stove, or portable space heater.
- Have a three-foot "kid-free zone" around fireplaces and fire pits.
- Position a fire pit at least 10 feet away from any structure, combustible material, or neighboring yard.
- Do not put a fire pit directly on a wooden deck or grass, or beneath eaves or low-hanging tree branches. Place the fire pit on a non-flammable surface, such as concrete or patio blocks.
- Burn only dry and aged wood. Generally, hardwoods such as oak and maple are preferred. Properly cured, they release more heat and burn cleanly.
- Never leave an active fireplace or fire pit unattended.
Other tips to stay safe and warm:
- Don't use an oven to heat your home.
- Install wood burning stoves following manufacturer's instructions, or have a professional do it. All fuel-burning equipment should be vented to the outside to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
- If you smell gas in a gas heater, do not light the appliance. Leave the home immediately and call the fire department or gas company.
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