Within the past few days, fire and rescue units have responded to numerous residential fires; the cause – fireplaces and wood stoves. As the weather becomes colder individuals will begin using alternative heating sources to keep their homes and families warm. Prince William County Department of Fire and Rescue urge residents to follow these fire and life-safety tips when using wood burning equipment:
- Each year, prior to using your fireplace or wood stove, have your chimney and vents inspected and cleaned by a qualified professional.
- Have a sturdy fireplace screen or keep the doors on the wood stove closed to stop sparks from flying into the room.
- Burn only dry, seasoned wood in fireplaces and wood stoves and dry, seasoned wood pellets in pellet stoves.
- NEVER start the fire with a flammable liquid, kerosene or gasoline; use newspaper or kindling.
- Keep anything that can burn at least 3 feet away.
- NEVER leave a fireplace or wood stove fire unattended, particularly when children are present.
- Allow ashes to cool for several days before disposing (up to 4 days).
- Dispose of ashes in a tightly covered metal container.
- Douse and saturate the ashes with water.
- Place the ash container a safe distance from your home (at least 10 feet).
- DO NOT store in your home, garage or other nearby buildings.
Winter fires are preventable! For more heating fire safety advice visit www.nfpa.org/winter and “Put a Freeze on Winter Fires.”