Cold weather seems to be looming over our heads, it came in like a bandit overnight and robbed us of our 100-degree weather. Granted we have had some beautiful sunny days, its been hard to adjust back to rain and cold, after what seemed to be the most brutal winters I’ve endured since living here.
What we tend to forget about are the dangers our wood fires, candles and fireplaces can pose during the colder months. These are things I gravitate towards when keeping our home warm and inviting during these gloomy winter months.
Did you know that 9,300 structural fires were started by candles in-between the years 2009-2013? This is based on stats here in the US, from fire departments.
9,300 structural fires resulted in: 86 deaths, 827 injuries, and over $370 million in property damages.
More than half of these reported home fires happened with combustible material(s) left too close to the candle. That’s 58%!
December is a peak time of year this occurs more. Think about it for a second, how many of us pull a Clark Griswald and try to put way too many lights into one outlet? Most of those decorations are highly flammable. Take extra care and precautions when decorating. Timers are a great way to monitor that energy output.
The above stats are things we tend to overlook, and the causes are results of pure absentmindedness on our part.
Wood stoves/Fireplaces- here are some of the dangers these pose and what to watch out for. Maintain and clean your chimney, keeping this clean will reduce chances of creosote. Creosote is the property that can cause fires from smoke build up.
Fire Logs- if you are a fan of burning these please read these tips. Always have a screen in front of your fireplace, these logs tend to ‘spit’ while burning. Fire logs are a petroleum based product, so water won’t work when trying to extinguish a fire that gets out of hand. It will in fact spread more quickly. IF a Fire Log were to get out of hand, be sure to keep a dry-chemical fire extinguisher or sand nearby. Yes, packaging will state that Fire Logs are “clean burning” they have had experience in creosote buildup in the flue. More so than burning wood.
Make sure your fireplace is inspected annually by a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep
Candles- keeping candles in contained candle holders. Never leave a candle unattended, I am very guilty of this.
If you are one to forget, I think the safe bet is to not burn candles. Or if you have a special occasion, tea lights are great, they are small and fit into any kind of candle holder and their burning time is 3-4 hours. Votives last a little longer than that, and pillars are the long-lasting candles. Those are the ones I personally tend to forget about.
If this article has scared you out of using candles forever, there are awesome alternatives these days. Battery operated candles that look very realistic are great and easy to find.
With the holidays just around the corner, here at SERVPRO Gig Harbor/N. Tacoma we hope that this article can serve as a reference guide when warming your home for the winter. Getting those decorations out, we hope you have a new awareness of what is a hazard and what isn’t, that is our goal. At the end of the day it’s not fun to clean up fire damages, to see personal loss, especially during a time of year that brings so much joy and love.