Fireplace Safety Tips
Gathering around the fireplace is a great winter tradition, but make sure you stay safe. Our agency would like to share these tips to keep the fire in the fireplace:
For the most efficient operation of a wood-burning fireplace, use only logs that have been properly dried for at least a year. Select wood such as oak, maple and hickory. If you are going to use your own pile of firewood, make sure that they are not moist or cracked. Logs that have been standing outdoors might be infested with termites, algae and other microorganisms that would release harmful toxins when thrown into fireplaces. Installing a smoke alarm near a fireplace is a good way to monitor open flames that might be producing too much carbon monoxide and other by-products.
Never use a wood-burning fireplace to get rid of cardboard, crates and other lumber that has been industrially processed. The chemicals on such items can be extremely dangerous when they are released in the form of gases at high temperatures. Similarly, ink and dye on printed-paper products also pose dangers when they are burned inside fireplaces. The moisture content of magazines and newspapers might be high enough to prevent wooden logs from burning properly. In other words, the combustion process might not be fully completed when different mixtures of lumber and processed paper products are thrown inside a fireplace.
Extinguishing a fireplace can be very dangerous, so make sure you wear fireproof material when handling any tools and objects near open flames. Ashes that are barely burning could still be very hot, so put them out with care. Pour water gently over any remaining firewood that is left inside the fireplace. It is important to prevent splashes that could burn any exposed skin. Take precautions to ensure that any debris from the fireplace does not get on a carpeted floor. Some of the contents might be extremely hot and possibly ignite carpets and upholstery of nearby furniture.
Prepare Your Car for Winter
The winter weather can turn the area around you into a wonderland of scenic beauty. Unfortunately, the snow and ice can also lead to potentially dangerous roadways, causing accidents. Instead of hiding in your basement for the next three months, follow these steps to prepare your vehicle for winter conditions:
Give your battery a checkup: The winter is a common time for battery failure. When the temperature drops, your battery loses much of its power, so starting your engine can take a much higher level of current. If you don’t remember when you last replaced your battery or you notice a high level of corrosion, ask an auto professional if it needs replacing.
Manage Your Fluids: Every car needs a certain ration of engine coolant to water, and sometimes the ratio can be different in the winter. Make sure you have a washer/wiper solution with antifreeze. And on a related note, you should also make sure your windshield wipers are in proper working order (they should be replaced every year or so).
Check Your Tires: It’s crucial that you make sure that your tires are in shape to handle the winter roads. If your treads are worn out, it could be time to invest in some new ones. Better yet, put on snow tires to improve your traction.
And finally, always use your best judgment. If you know a big weather event is coming and you have to go somewhere, keep a close eye on the conditions and monitor the weather reports. If you feel it’s too unsafe to travel, reschedule your plans. Nothing’s more important than your safety.