Posts Tagged ‘house fire’

Fire prompts warning about space heaters

December 29, 2010

The Burlington Free Press reports an all-too-common winter story about a house fire started by a space heater.  Fortunately the house wasn’t completely destroyed, and no one was injured in this case.  But it could have ended very differently.   As Kathryn touched on last month, space heater safety is very important.   As the Fire Marshall’s Office said in this case, space heaters should be used only temporarily and kept clear of combustible materials.

Stay warm–but be safe!

Keep Your Chimney In Top Condition For Safety

December 6, 2010

Even if you don’t use your fireplace to heat your home, it is tempting to light a fire at this time of year. There is something about having a wood fire in the living room that can make your home feel very cozy and festive (even if a typical fireplace can actually rob your home of heat—more on that another time!). But, as with any part of your home heating system, your fireplace and chimney need attention to make sure you’re not putting yourself and your family at risk of a potentially house-threatening and life-threatening fire.

The US Consumer Products Safety Commission estimates that every year roughly 25,000 chimney fires occur in the US, resulting in about ten deaths, one hundred and twenty injuries and $115 million in damages. Luckily, it is quite easy to ensure that you don’t become part of these statistics.

Most chimney fires occur due to the ignition of creosote, which is the black residue that builds up as the smoke from your fire passes up the chimney. Each year you should have your chimney inspected by a professional and, if needed, have it cleaned to prevent a chimney fire.

Finding a professional to inspect your chimney is easy. There is no national licensing requirement for chimney sweeps, so what you need to look for is membership in the National Chimney Sweep Guild and/or Chimney Safety Institute of America certification. Both of these organizations have codes of ethics and adhere to the guidelines put forth by standards set by the National Fire Protection Association. You can use the ‘look-up’ functions on the NCSG or CSIA webpages to find an affiliated chimney sweep in your area.

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