As summer draws to a close, crisp and cool fall weather signals that it’s time for pumpkin patch season, hayrides, evening bonfires, and crackling flames in the fireplace at home. The smell of leaves mingled with hot cider and burning wood creates fall’s mystique and magic. Still, without proper safety tips, individuals enjoying those autumnal bonfires and warm fireplace flames can spread unwanted sparks that ignite danger.
Before starting a fall bonfire anywhere or lighting the first fire of the season in the fireplace, abide by these safety tips.
Five Fireplace Safety Tips for Homeowners
A fire in the fireplace seems like a wonderful solution to warm the home and add ambience for a cool fall day. While the fireplace seems like a contained location, hidden dangers can pose a risk to the home and the family. Do not light a match or flame in the fireplace without following all the safety recommendations.
Schedule fireplace maintenance before fall begins.
The fireplace must be maintained and cleaned regularly. Before using the fireplace for the first time in the fall, schedule an appointment for maintenance, cleaning, and inspection. A bird’s nest could be hidden in the stack or other debris that poses a hazard.
Check that the flue is open.
The flue in the fireplace is designed to allow smoke to escape. If the flue ‘damper’ is closed, the smoke billows out and into the home. Smoke from fires poses respiratory issues and other concerns.The fire must be completely extinguished before homeowners can safely close the damper. Not a single ember can remain.
Teach children to stay away from burning fires.
Always teach children about fire safety. Children should know not to stand close to a fireplace with a burning fire. Glowing embers occasionally fall from the fireplace; if this burning ember falls on a child, it could ignite their clothes or cause damaging burns.
Keep areas around the fireplace clear of any flammable materials.
Do not place any flammable items or materials near the fireplace. Flying embers could ignite the item and lead to a house fire. Clear the area in front of the fireplace.
Never leave a fire unattended.
Homeowners should NEVER leave a fire unattended. Ensure that the fire is extinguished before going to bed or leaving the home. All embers must be fully extinguished; even a tiny glowing ember has the potential to reignite a fire.
Bonfire Safety Tips
Fall bonfires are a festive way to stay warm during parties, hayrides, and other autumnal celebrations. Before igniting a bonfire, individuals must understand the laws in Eureka that guide open burning. A bonfire is considered an ‘open burn,’ a permit must be secured before starting any outdoor fire for recreational, ceremonial, or other purposes.
After securing a permit, individuals should keep these safety tips and rules in mind:
Understand how to build a bonfire safely.
When building a bonfire, only use vegetative wood materials and untreated wood. Using other materials is prohibited; chemicals found in treated wood can lead to toxic emissions or other environmental hazards.
Keep the area clear.
Do not place flammable items near an open flame. Flying embers can ignite materials; this can quickly cause a fire to burn out of control.
Check the weather.
Dry conditions and fires don’t mix. Just because a permit is issued for a burn does not mean that conditions can’t change. Always follow weather reports and updates from EFPD related to outdoor burning during dry weather.
If a flame starts to diminish or die out, do NOT pour gasoline or other flammable liquids on the flame. Instead, feed the flame with the appropriate types of wood.
Watch the fire.
An open burn is the responsibility of the individual who requested the permit. Never leave the fire unattended; fully extinguish the flames when the festivities are over, or the fire is no longer necessary. No glowing embers should remain.
Stay Safe During Fall’s Festivities
As cool weather approaches and autumn’s festivities spice up the calendar, remember to abide by all safety tips and recommendations when lighting the first fire in the fireplace this season or celebrating a hayride with a bonfire. Reach out to EFPD to apply for an open burn permit for bonfires, and remember never to leave a fire burning unattended!
About the Author:
Eureka Fire Protection District is an EMS, Fire, and Rescue service provider located in Eureka, Missouri. Staffed with nearly one hundred volunteer and career Paramedics, EMTs, Firefighters, Junior Firefighters, and administrative teams, the department provides its local community with fire prevention, education, safety resources, and emergency relief. Eureka Fire Protection District maintains a reputation as a well-run, high-performing fire department by keeping up to date with the latest in life-saving training and technology.