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Courtesy of the US Fire Administration
More than one-third of
Americans use fireplaces, wood stoves and other fuel-fired appliances as
primary heat sources in their homes. Unfortunately, many people are unaware of
the fire risks when heating with wood and solid fuels.
Heating fires account for 36% of residential home fires in rural areas every
year. Often these fires are due to creosote buildup in chimneys and stovepipes.
All home heating systems require regular maintenance to function safely and
Keep Fireplaces and Wood Stoves Clean
your chimney or wood stove inspected and cleaned annually by a certified
the area around the hearth of debris, decorations and flammable materials.
glass doors open while burning a fire. Leaving the doors
open ensures that the fire receives enough air to ensure complete
combustion and keeps creosote from building up in the chimney.
glass doors when the fire is out to keep air from the chimney opening from
getting into the room. Most glass fireplace doors have a metal mesh screen which should be closed when the glass doors are
open. This mesh screen helps keep embers from getting out of the fireplace
use a metal mesh screen with fireplaces that do not have a glass fireplace
stovepipe thermometers to help monitor flue temperatures.
air inlets on wood stoves open, and never restrict air supply to
fireplaces. Otherwise you may cause creosote
buildup that could lead to a chimney fire.
fire-resistant materials on walls around wood stoves.
Safely Burn Fuels
use flammable liquids to start a fire.
only seasoned hardwood. Soft, moist wood accelerates creosote buildup. In
pellet stoves, burn only dry, seasoned wood pellets.
small fires that burn completely and produce less smoke.
burn cardboard boxes, trash or debris in your fireplace or wood stove.
building a fire, place logs at the rear of the fireplace on an adequate
- Never leave a fire in the fireplace unattended. Extinguish the fire before going to bed or
leaving the house.
ashes to cool before disposing of them. Place ashes in a tightly covered
metal container and keep the ash container at least 10 feet away from your
home and any other nearby buildings. Never empty the ash directly into a
trash can. Douse and saturate the ashes with water.
Protect the Outside
of Your Home
firewood outdoors at least 30 feet away from your home.
the roof clear of leaves, pine needles and other debris.
the chimney with a mesh screen spark arrester.
branches hanging above the chimney, flues or vents.
Protect the Inside of
smoke alarms on every level of your home and inside and outside of
sleeping areas. Test them monthly and change the batteries at least once a
year. Consider installing the new long life smoke alarms.
proper venting systems for all heating equipment.
all vent pipes at least three feet above the roof.
To provide fire suppression and Emergency Medical Services as well as
other emergency services to the Greater Marion Community, and to develop the best trained fire and EMS service in Smyth County.
Spring is just
around the corner, but it is still officially winter; there is always a risk
for severe storms to pop up.
Consider purchasing a battery operated radio if you do not already have
one, and have a fresh supply of batteries.
Tune in to local media to stay informed about impending weather, severe
storms, and other weather advisories.
our neighboring department’s websites:
Adwolfe Volunteer Fire Department
to other fire related websites:
Virginia Department of
Virginia Department of Forestry
National Fire Protection
Smokey the Bear's
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Fire / EMS