The coziest holiday get-togethers always seem to involve a blazing fire in the hearth. And for good reason! Since the beginning of time, humans lit fires and gathered around to share stories, soak in the warmth, and enjoy the camaraderie.
As soon as the Christmas season rolls around, the beautifully decorated fireplace mantel is always the focal centerpiece in a room. To ensure you have a safe holiday season this year, follow these important safety precautions to prevent your festive decorations from going up in flames!
Over time, fires will cause creosote buildup in the chimney, which can cause chimney fires if not taken care of properly. As we’ve mentioned in our previous blog posts, be ready for the cold season by keeping up on your fireplace and chimney maintenance throughout the year. Once you’re sure you’ve taken care of this critical step, you’re ready to decorate!
The fireplace mantel is the perfect place to stage a festive scene. Keep in mind though that the more extravagant your decor is, the more potential for an unwanted fire. When you decorate, be smart and keep safety in the forefront of your mind. Follow these tips for safe fireplace mantel decorating this Christmas:
- Make sure you don’t have greenery, ribbons, garland, or any other kind of material draping down in front of the fireplace.
- Position your Christmas tree a minimum of three feet away from your fireplace or heating source.
- Hang those stockings from the mantel with care, but be sure to remove them when there's a fire blazing!
The National Fire Protection Association tells us that both real and artificial trees are extremely flammable. When putting up your Christmas tree, it’s good to remember the following:
- Don’t put live candles or other fire sources on your tree.
- Replace strings of lights that are worn, broken, or have loose bulbs.
- Always turn off your Christmas lights when going to bed or leaving the house.
- Real Christmas trees should be fresh-cut and kept no longer than four weeks.
Never use your fireplace as an incinerator for miscellaneous holiday garbage. Only burn dry firewood in it, and avoid burning the following:
- Artificial greenery - These are usually a form of plastic, and will release toxic gases into the air when burned.
- Real greenery - Pine is extremely flammable, and the needles often send sparks shooting. Burning real greenery can send embers into the room, possibly starting a fire on the carpet or furniture.
- Boxes or Gift Wrapping - These can cause a sudden flare-up. Dyes and glitter can release toxic fumes into the room, and sheets of paper and glitter can become airborne while burning, blowing into the room or up the chimney.
In addition to following these important safety tips, don’t forget to remind children about hot glass or screens on the fireplace. It’s probably best to not leave children unattended in a room with a lit fire. Have an adult present so they can warn them away when they get too close to the flames.
And that's a wrap, folks. We hope these tips help you have a safe and Merry Christmas!