Chimneys are one of the most common locations of residential structure fires in the United States. Creosote accumulation is the leading cause of chimney fires. A chimney that is dirty, blocked, or is in disrepair can inhibit proper venting of smoke up the flue and can also cause a chimney fire. Nearly all residential fires originating in the chimney can be preventable.
An annual chimney inspection by a qualified chimney sweep can prevent fire or carbon monoxide poisoning. To keep your home safe from chimney fires follow these guiedlines:
Good maintenance is a very important step in preventing chimney fires!
- Have your chimney checked every year by a qualified chimney professional
- Burn only well seasoned hardwood
- Install a chimney cap
- Install a carbon monoxide detector
- Have your chimney sweep ensure that your chimney has an appropriate liner.
- Following a violent storm, earthquake, flood or lighting strike, have your chimney inspected for damage--inside and out.
Remember prevention is your best defense against fire. If you have a wood or coal stove, be sure it is installed at least 36 inches away from the walls. Keep combustable material well away from the stove and chimney connectors. Place an approved stove board under the unit to protect the floor from heat and hot coals which might drop.
Know what to do in case of fire. If you suspect a chimney fire, evacuate your home and call 9-1-1