(NC)—As we all prepare for the frigid winter season, it’s a great time to refresh our memories about using our fireplaces safely. Fire Prevention Canada says that winter is the worst time of year for home fires and offers these tips for fireplace safety:

1 Make sure the damper is open before you light the fire, and don’t close it until the ashes are cool to the touch.

2 Never leave the house or go to bed with a fire burning.

3 Keep combustible materials such as wood and paper a safe distance from the fireplace.

4 Keep a fireplace screen in place to protect children, pets and your carpet from embers.

5 Supervise children around the fireplace at all times.

6 Use dry, well-seasoned firewood a small amount at a time. (Never overload.) If you use artificial logs, follow the instructions on the packaging.

7 Have your chimney cleaned and serviced regularly.

8 Never use gasoline or starter fluid in your fireplace.

9 Place ashes in a metal container and take them outdoors.

10 Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and remember that adequate ventilation is key to keeping your fireplace safe.

“In addition to following safe practices with your fireplace, you should have safeguards in place in the event something goes amiss,” says Jeff Burke, president and CEO of Western Financial Group, whose brokers provide insurance to homeowners throughout western Canada. “In addition to smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, consider investing in fire extinguishers and a sprinkler system for your home. They can make your home safer and often earn you discounts on your home insurance premiums.”

www.newscanada.com

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