Fire Safety Awareness:
The National Fire Protection Association, reports an annual average of 53,700 residential fires in the United States from 1999 to 2002 related to home heating equipment. As a result of these fires, 320 people died, 1,270 people were injured, and total property losses were set at more than $637 million in property damage each year.
A clean chimney is essential for safety and efficiency. If you have a fireplace or wood-burning stove, you also have a dirty chimney. As wood burns, the combustion produces build up in your chimney or flue pipe as a black, sticky layer that is highly combustible and the only way to get rid of it is through regular cleaning. These materials will build up rapidly, so your chimney will require cleaning every year.
In the event of a chimney fire:
Get everyone out of the house.
Call the fire department.
Don't close the damper. If you have glass doors, close the glass doors and the vents. If you have a wood stove, close the doors and air inlets.
If flames are visible at the chimney top, hose down the roof, but not the chimney. Spraying water on a hot chimney could damage it.
Call a chimney professional before using it again. Even a small chimney fire can damage the chimney making it unsafe to use.
Dryer Vent Safety Tips:
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has issued an alert due to the fact that there are 15,500 fires, 10 deaths, and 310 injuries from dryer exhaust fires annually...
How long does it take you to dry a load of laundry?
Chances are if it takes you more than 30 minutes you may need a dryer vent cleaning.
Have you burned out a heating element?
8 out of 10 heating elements burn out because the dryer vent has never been cleaned. A half-inch (1/2) of lint reduces the flow by almost 50%. This is enough build-up to burn out your heating element.
Dryer vent cleaning helps to save money on electricity and/or gas, approximately .25¢-.50¢ per load of laundry. Annual cleanings will eventually pay for themselves. Clothes dry faster and last longer when dryer vents are clean.
Plastic flammable vent lines need to be replaced with metal to be up to code. The lint and debris, which gather in ALL dryers and dryer vents can ignite and cause homes to burn. Dryer vents should be inspected and swept regularly
Tips for starting your fire.
Make sure the damper is open! Often this happens to get overlooked. use tinder, crumpled up news paper, small twigs or pine cones.
For kindling, large twigs 1/4" to 1" will do. this is imprtant to building good fires but is comonly overlooked. For fuel, only use dry, seasoned hard wood. Look for split, dry wood that has been stacked and covered for deveral months.
Arrange 2 small to medium sized pieces of firewood on the grate, and some crumpled up newspaper for tinder in between the logs.
Next cover the tinder with serveral pieces of kindling. Remember, be generous!
Now you are ready to place two more pieces of firewood on top of the kindling and two more at the right angeles to these two. Leave some space between the logs for air circulation.
Do check the manufacturer's guidelines dor your appliance.
Don't use charcoal lighter fluid or any other flammable liquids as they are highly dangerous. (Gel fire starters are fine)
Do use hard, seasoned, dry wood.
Don't use coal in a woodstove or fireplace unless there are specific directions - it will burn, but not safely.
Do have your appliance cleaned and inspected by a licensed chimney professional regularly.
Don't burn trash, untreated lumber or anything other than wood in your woodburning appliance.
Do use commercial starters if you prefer. They eliminate the use of tinder and can reduce the amount of kindlingg you will use.
Don't burn artificial logs in a wood stave unless they a specifically designed for woodstove use. Artificial logs can dirty up a chimney much faster than regular wood and can be hazadous in certain situations.
Do use carbon monoxide and smoke detectors in your home. Make sure to have the batteries changed regularly and have an evacuation plan with your family in case of emergencies.