Tips to avoid fires on Christmas day

Hampden County
Fireplace_546929

Fireplace

WILBRAHAM, Mass (WWLP) – With Christmas being tomorrow, presents all over the world are to be opened soon and that brings more risks of fires starting.

Local Police Departments and Mass.gov are reminding people of tips on heating their homes safely and to not throw wrapping paper in the fireplace or woodstove.

According to the Wilbraham Police Department, the inks that make the wrapping paper pretty contain chemicals that react to heat.

Mass.gov reports that in 2018, there were 556 fire incidents involving chimneys, fireplaces, and woodstoves in Massachusetts resulting in one civilian death.

The following are some tips provided by Mass.gov for safe use of wood, coal, and pellet stoves:

  • You need a building permit before installing fireplaces, wood, pellet or coal-burning stoves.
  • A building inspector must inspect new fireplaces, wood, pellet, or coal-burning stoves before they are used as required by the Massachusetts State Building Code.
  • There should be at least 36 inches of clearance around the stove to prevent combustibles from coming into contact with a heat source. (3-foot-circle of safety)
  • Solid fuel heating appliances cannot share a common flue with chimney flues used by another solid fuel, fossil fuel, or gas fire appliance.
  • A qualified mason should inspect the chimney and flue before the stove is used and annually. Cracks in the flue or mortar joints can allow flames and heated gases to get into living spaces.
  • Have your chimney flue cleaned before each heating season and burn only dry, well seasoned, hardwood to reduce creosote accumulation.
  • Don’t use flammable liquids to start a fire.
  • Never leave children unattended near the stove.
  • Check that the damper is open before lighting the fire. A closed damper will result in an accumulation of smoke and carbon monoxide in the home. Don’t close the damper until the fire is out and the embers are cold.
  • Use a fireplace screen to prevent flying sparks and embers from falling out on to the floor.
  • To prevent fires, ashes that are cleaned out from the stove or fireplace should be shoveled into a metal bucket with a metal lid and placed outside on the ground away from the building.
  • Install smoke and carbon monoxide alarms to warn of both fire and deadly fumes from a faulty furnace, fireplace, oven flue or other venting problem.

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