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Public Safety News
Harris and Montgomery Counties Fire Marshal's Offices
News Release
Thursday, October 20, 2011

HOME FIREPLACES AND CHIMNEYS
 With our First Cold Front Coming through here are a Few Safety Tips
Residential chimneys and fireplaces are not prohibited by the ban currently in effect;
however, officials urge caution in their use.

Harris and Montgomery Counties, Texas -- As temperatures decrease over the coming days and weeks, lack of rainfall and increased winds are adding to an already high fire danger throughout our area.

Even with the rainfall over the last couple of weeks the region is still considered to be in drought conditions. Although the burn ban remains in place this does not restrict the use of fireplaces and chimneys for home heating; because many residents will be using their heating systems for the first time the following safety tips are recommended.

·         An annual heater check by a qualified technician is recommended

·         October is fire prevention month; it’s a great reminder to check your smoke detectors

Top 10 Wood burning Tips from CSIA 

To aid in the prevention of chimney fires and carbon monoxide intrusion and to help keep heating appliances and fireplaces functioning properly, the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) offers the following safety tips:

1. Get an annual chimney check. Have chimneys inspected annually, and cleaned as necessary, by a qualified professional chimney service technician. This reduces the risk of fires and carbon monoxide poisonings due to creosote buildup or obstructions in the chimneys.

2. Keep it clear. Keep tree branches and leaves at least 15 feet away from the top of the chimney.

3. Install a chimney cap to keep debris and animals out of the chimney.

4. Choose the right fuel. For burning firewood in wood stoves or fireplaces, choose well-seasoned wood that has been split for a minimum of six months - one year and stored in a covered and elevated location. Never burn Christmas trees or treated wood in your fireplace or wood stove.

5. Build it right. Place firewood or fire logs at the rear of the fireplace on a supporting grate. To start the fire, use kindling or a commercial firelighter. Never use flammable liquids.

6. Keep the hearth area clear. Combustible material too close to the fireplace, or to a wood stove, could easily catch fire. Keep furniture at least 36” away from the hearth.

7. Use a fireplace screen. Use metal mesh or a screen in front of the fireplace to catch flying sparks that could ignite or burn holes in the carpet or flooring.

8. Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Place detectors throughout the house and check batteries in the spring and fall. When you change your clocks for Daylight Savings Time, remember to check your batteries.

9. Never leave a fire unattended. Before turning in for the evening, be sure that the fire is fully extinguished. Supervise children and pets closely around wood stoves and fireplaces.

10. The CSIA recommends annual inspections performed by CSIA Certified Chimney Sweeps. These chimney sweeps have earned the industry's most respected credential by passing an intensive examination based on fire codes, clearances and standards for the construction and maintenance of chimney and venting systems. The National Fire Protection Association also recommends that all chimneys are inspected on an annual basis.






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