National Chimney Safety Week: Prepare your chimney now to keep your family safe this winter

ESCAPE Fire Safety

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich (WOOD) – As the temperatures cool down outside, you may want to start a fire in the fireplace or turn on the furnace to stay warm, but is your chimney ready to handle the heat Where You Live?

National Chimney Safety Week 2020 (September 27 – October 3) is designed to educate homeowners on the inherent dangers of fireplaces and provide them with tips to reduce their risk of suffering a chimney fire or carbon monoxide-related health emergency.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (USCPSC), an average of 17,600 chimney fires occurred annually in the United States between 2015 and 2017, and although this represents a significant drop from previous years, the Chimney Safety Institute of America believes there’s still much room for improvement. CSIA’s vision is that every family enjoys a safe, warm home.

The Facts About Chimney Fires:

Your chimney–and the flue that lines it–adds architectural interest to your home, but its’ real function is to carry dangerous flue gases from your fireplace, wood stove or furnace safely out of your home.  As you relax in front of your fireplace or bask in the warmth of your wood stove, the last thing you are likely to be thinking about is the condition of your chimney.  However, if you don’t give some thought to it before you light those winter fires, your enjoyment may be very short-lived.

Why?

Dirty chimneys can cause chimney fires, which damage structures, destroy homes and injure or kill people. ​

Indications of a chimney fire have been described as creating:

  • Loud cracking and popping noise
  • A lot of dense smoke
  • An intense, hot smell

Chimney fires can burn explosively – noisy and dramatic enough to be detected by neighbors or people passing by.  Flames or dense smoke may shoot from the top of the chimney.  Homeowners report being startled by a low rumbling sound that reminds them of a freight train or a low flying airplane.  However, those are only the chimney fires you know about.

Chimney fires are preventable.  When burning wood, only use dry, seasoned wood.

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends chimneys be inspected annually and cleaned as-needed.  Having your chimney inspected by a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep before lighting your first fire of the season, is the number one way to prevent potential damage to your home or even the loss of life that may result from a damaged or blocked chimney.

E.S.C.A.P.E. Fire Safety reminds you with more than 1,800 CSIA Certified Chimney Sweeps located across the United States, it has never been easier to find one near you.  To locate your nearest CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep, visit www.csia.org/search and enter your zip code into the locator search tool.

Article by Firefighter Michael McLeieer, President – E.S.C.A.P.E. Inc.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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