How to prep your fireplace or stove for winter to prevent household fires

Weather News

SPRINGFIELD, Mass (WWLP) — Temperatures are cooling down and that means more people are using their fireplaces and wood stoves.

In 2016, there were 565 fire incidents involving chimneys, fireplaces and wood stoves in Massachusetts which injured 8 people and caused $2.3 million in property losses, according to the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety and Security.

So the key is prevention.

First, try a 3-foot circle of safety around the fire. Get a mason to inspect it annually for cracks before regular use. Also, make sure to get your chimney cleaned before it gets too chilly.

Use a fireplace screen to prevent flying sparks and embers from falling out. And you should also double check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and clean out ashes regularly.

It helps to leave about an inch of ash because it acts as insulation, heating the coals faster and also helping to retain that heat for longer.

When you do clean ashes, make sure you use a metal bucket with a proper top, because ashes can remain hot enough to start fires for multiple days.

These tips might come in handy given low temperatures could drop down into the 20’s twice this week alone, and other nights will stick in the 30’s. And the long-term forecast doesn’t get much warmer, either.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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