A beautifully decorated hearth is a Christmas tradition, from hanging stockings to stringing garlands of greenery. Those decorations can pose a fire hazard when placed close to your fireplace. To decorate your home and your hearth safely, there are somethings you should know when decorating for Christmas.
Follow the 3-Foot Rule.
Both the Chimney Safety Institute of America and the National Fire Protection Association recommend creating a 3-foot zone around your fireplace. All combustibles, including throw pillows, blankets, Christmas decorations and paper, should be kept beyond that 3-foot zone. This includes your Christmas tree: Both synthetic and real trees can catch fire if placed too close to the fireplace. The 3-foot rule is important no matter what type of heating appliance you have; even an enclosed gas or electric fireplace can ignite nearby combustibles due to the heat they put off.
Don’t Hang Decorations from the Mantle.
Draping ribbons or greenery from the mantle can provide a beautiful effect, but it can be dangerous, too. Don’t allow decorations to dangle from the mantle, as hanging flammables can ignite either from the heat of your fireplace or from an errant spark.
Remove Stockings When You Light a Fire.
Few people can resist hanging their stockings in front of the fireplace as tradition dictates. If you do choose to hang your stockings from the fireplace with care, make sure that you carefully remove the stockings from the mantle when you light fire. And, again, observe the 3-foot rule and place the removed stockings safely away from the hearth.
Look for Fire-Resistant Decorations.
There are decorations that are manufactured or treated to be fire resistant to make them safer to use near a fireplace. These can make a great option for decorating your hearth. Fire-resistant doesn’t mean that these objects won’t burn, just that they are less likely to accidentally ignite. You should still observe fireplace safety tips when placing these decorations on your mantle or near your fireplace.
Use a Spark Guard.
If you have an open-hearth fireplace, a spark guard is an excellent option for making your hearth safer this winter. A spark guard is a mesh screen placed over the fireplace opening to prevent embers from crackling out of the fireplace. A spark guard can help to keep your Christmas decorations, furniture and flooring safe from sparks.
Keep a Fire Extinguisher on Hand.
Even if you have followed all of the other tips for safely decorating near your fireplace, you still should have a fire extinguisher on hand. Make sure that the extinguisher is operational and current and that everyone in the home knows where the fire extinguisher is and how to use it in case of an emergency.
If you need help preparing your hearth for the winter holidays, call Fluesbrothers Chimney Service today!