Fireplace and chimney safety tips from state fire marshal

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As the temperature drops outside, wood fireplaces may get fired up inside homes.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, heating equipment is one of the leading causes of home fires during the winter months.

Last year in Washington state, 757 fire incidents were caused by heating, which includes fireplaces and chimneys. Total dollar loss was estimated at over $8 million.

The Washington State Fire Marshal’s Office recommends residents follow these safety tips to help keep their home fire-safe this coming winter:

– Keep anything that can burn at least 3 feet from your fireplace or wood stove.

– Do not burn paper in your fireplace.

– Put any fire out before you go to sleep or leave your home.

– Have your chimney and fireplace inspected and cleaned each year by a professional.

– Keep a metal or glass screen in front of your fireplace to prevent embers or sparks from jumping out.

– Make sure fireplace “on” switches and remotes are out of the reach of children.

– Keep a close eye on children whenever wood is being used.

– Have working smoke alarms in the home, and test them monthly.

– Install carbon monoxide alarms outside every sleeping area and on every level of your home.

– When cooking, never leave the room and move things that can burn away from the stove.

– Get fireplaces and wood stoves inspected annually. Burn only dry, seasoned wood.

– If using artificial fire logs, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations, and never burn more than one log at a time.

For more information, contact the state fire marshal’s office at 360-596-3929.

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