It’s that time of year again, when we start to plan our holiday gatherings. We always look forward to sharing the holidays with family and friends. They are festive times and it gives us a chance to showcase our homes and our creative decorating skills. But holidays are also the time when we have to be especially cognizant of safety, especially if there is a fireplace in the home.
Fireplaces are grand and add to the ambiance of our gatherings. They are especially appreciated on cold nights and can add elegance to our homes. They also lend themselves to the artist in each of us when it comes to holiday decorations. It’s as if they were designed to showcase our skills. They can be a wonderful addition but they can also ruin a party if good safety practices are not adhered to.
Always ensure that your fireplace is clean, the flue is open, and the chimney is clear of debris. The chimney is there to ensure that there is adequate ventilation. A choked chimney can cause smoke to billow into your home and can release harmful toxins. No one invites carbon monoxide to their parties.
Be sure that your decorations are a fair distance from the front of your fireplace. This is particularly true of wood burning fireplaces because the embers from that crackling fire can escape and ignite the decorations. Always keep the fireplace screen in place. It will help to minimize flying embers.
Make sure that your Christmas tree is a safe distance from your fireplace as well. If you are inclined to throw the boughs that may drop from your tree, into the fireplace, don’t! Dry evergreen boughs act as tinder and can flame out of control, shooting sparks into the room or up the chimney to ignite the creosote.
When you are tending to the fire, avoid wearing loose clothes or dangling sleeves. And though “fire salts” are fun as they change the color of the flames, keep them out of the reach of children; eating them can cause gastrointestinal problems and would certainly put a damper on your holiday gathering.
Whether you have a gas fireplace or a wood fireplace, keep children a safe distance from the screen or the glass doors. They get quite hot and can easily burn a child.
Fireplaces bring warmth and charm to any home, and practicing good fireplace safety can make your event a memorable one.