Fireplace Safety

Sitting around the fireplace is a popular tradition. A warm, friendly fireplace can be kept safe by observing a few rules. The North Hastings Fire Service reminds you to be safety conscious when enjoying a fire. Always use a proper fitting fireplace screen or glass doors to prevent flying sparks or the logs from rolling out and igniting nearby combustibles.

When cleaning your fireplace, ashes should be placed in metal containers stored outside your home.

Have your chimney professionally cleaned and inspected at least once a year to remove soot and creosote that could ignite and burn as required by the Ontario Fire Code.

If burning artificial logs follow instructions on the package.

Burn wood, not trash in your fireplace. Except for starting a fire, do not put paper in the fireplace.

Never use charcoal starter, lighter fluid or gasoline to ignite a fire.

Creosote, an oily liquid with a penetrating odour, can coat the inside of a chimney and form a hazardous build-up.

Seasoned wood (split logs that have been left to dry under cover for a least six months) has less creosote than unseasoned wood and therefore is likely to damage your chimney and give off offensive odours.

Hardwoods i.e. maples, poplars and oaks) produce less creosote than soft woods such as pine. Soft wood also gives off more ash, reducing the fires heat and causing huge quantities of soot that hamper log burning.

Burn “pressed” logs only in an open fireplace, never in a closed stove. Pressed logs, the kind sold in stores give off higher heat than natural logs, so the specific safety instructions must be followed carefully.

Fireplaces should be inspected annually for creosote build-up and structural damage to chimneys. Put chimney caps in place to keep out small animals and birds.

The flue should be open when you start your fireplace, because smoke from the burning logs can fill up the house when the flue is closed. As a reminder, attach an iron ornament to the flue pull that shows when the flue is open. Use a fireplace screen to prevent embers and sparks from spraying past the hearth and burning people, animals or furniture. Teach children to stay away from the fireplace at all times.

For further information contact: North Hastings Fire Service 613-332-2442