Nov 17, 2009 7:15 PM by Kristen Oato
As the winter months approach, many people will begin using their fireplaces to stay warm. The Santa Barbara County Fire Department and the Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District are warning people to use good judgement when burning wood in fireplaces.
These kinds of fires can cause emergencies and pose serious safety risks. Breathing wood smoke can reduce lung function, aggravate heart and lung disease, and also trigger asthma.
Here are some suggestions for fireplace safety:
Use a gas log if you can
Be a good neighbor and notice your smoke
Don't burn trash
Clean your chimney
If you use artificial logs, do not treat them the same as real wood logs
Never use gasoline, charcoal lighter or other fuel to light or relight a fire because vapors can explode
Do not allow small children near the fireplace
Never leave a fire unattended
Have basic safety equipment on hand
Be sure no flammable materials hang down from or decorate your mantel
Never close your damper with hot ashes in the fireplace
Make sure you have good ventilation in the room
Save your fireplace or wood stove for special occasions
Be sure all ashes have thoroughly cooled before you dispose of them
Replace your wood stove with a cleaner-burning wood stove certified by the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), or install an EPA-certified fireplace insert.
For more info, go to www.OurAir.org
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