Chimney and Home Heating Safety Tips
By Firefighter Charles Foy
January 17, 2018

Winter has certainly made its presence felt here in beautiful Southern Chester County. A recent two-week period with below freezing temperatures stressed many home heating units and chimneys used overtime to keep warm. Each year the West Grove Fire Company responds to several home heating-related incidents ranging from chimney fires to furnace malfunctions to gas odors and leaks. According to the National Fire Protection Association: Nearly half of home heating equipment fires are reported during the months of December, January & February. Heating equipment is a leading cause of home fire deaths.

The following are tips and links to sound advice you can follow to keep your home safe.

- never use a barbecue indoors to cook or provide heat.
- never use a barbecue in a garage to cook or provide heat, even with the door open.
- never use a stove (gas or electric) to heat a home
- chimneys and home heating units should be inspected and cleaned annually
- never plug a portable heater into an extension cord
- Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heating equipment, like the furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or portable space heater.
- Have a three-foot “kid-free zone” around open fires and space heaters.
- Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.
- Always use the right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel burning space heaters.
- Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room. Ashes should be cool before putting them in a metal container. Keep the container a safe distance away from your home.
- Test smoke and carbon monoxide alarms at least once a month and change the batteries twice a year.

Hyperlinks: Chimney Safety Institute of America FAQs
National Fire Protection Association Chimney Information
National Fire Protection Association Gas Furnace Flu Information