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The holidays are the most wonderful time of the year, especially when family and friends gather together to celebrate another year. For many families, these celebrations often involve the use of the fireplace and a heavily decorated mantle. In order to keep your family safe this holiday season, it is important to combine fire safety and fun around your fireplace. The following tips can ensure you enjoy your fireplace safely this holiday season.

Keep décor away

tree and presents The holidays means hanging stockings, draping garland, or setting up a tree, but you should be aware to not put these decorations too close to your  fireplace. To prevent accidental fire, keep all your décors at a minimum of three feet away from the fireplace. You should also avoid mantle décor that cannot be easily moved when you’re ready to start a fire.

Trees, especially real and fresh cut trees – should be kept away from the fireplace, space heaters, and other burning appliances. While most artificial trees have a flame retardant coating, real trees can easily go up in flames in seconds. Take real trees down right after the holiday, ensure they are watered daily, and keep them away from the fireplace to prevent an accidental fire.

Save wrapping paper for recycling

When opening gifts, it can be tempting to throw wrapping paper, boxes, and packing material straight into your fireplace. However, these wrappings are best saved for the recycling bin. Paper and packing materials are often highly combustible. When they are added to a fire, they ignite quickly and can cause flames to spew out of the firebox or up the chimney. Likewise, the dyes in wrapping paper is toxic when burned.

Real trees, wreaths, garlands should not be burned indoors or outdoors. Because the wood is not seasoned, it creates sluggish and slow burning fires. Likewise, some decorative greenery is treated with chemicals that make the wood unsuitable for burning.

Keep the littlest family members safe & test smoke alarms

If small children is visiting your home over the holidays, you should consider using an additional fireplace gate or screen. This helps to keep little fingers away from open flames, hot glass, or other exposed fireplace components. Fireplace doors should also be closed to keep curious children and pets away from the open flames.

Smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors should be tested at least once every six months. You should test them regularly and replace batteries as needed before the holiday season. These alarms should be replaced every 7-10 years; this ensures your home is using the latest technology and are up to date with current safety standards.

Call a chimney sweep

If your fireplace begins to burn sluggishly, smokes excessively, or experiences other problems, it may be time to call a professional chimney sweep. Contact Jack Pixley Sweeps for more information about troubleshooting your fireplace, annual inspections, holiday fire safety, and more!