Fireplace Safety

If you plan on using a fireplace or wood-burning stove, the Salt Lake City Fire Department reminds you that you should have your fireplace checked and maintained every year before use.

You can do some of the needed maintenance, such as repairing cracks in the flue lining, bricks and mortar, while you may look to hire a professional to provide the service that keeps the flue clear of soot, creosote and obstructions.

Professionals should also inspect the fireplace and chimney at least once a year to prevent creosote buildup.

Also remember these safety tips:

  • Equip the house with working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
  • Keep a fire extinguisher near the fireplace
  • Install a screen that completely covers the fireplace opening to keep sparks from flying out
  • Keep combustible materials such as carpets, furniture, paper, logs and kindling at least three feet away from the fireplace
  • Use only enough fuel to keep the fire at the desired temperature and avoid “roaring” fires
  • Do not use gasoline or other flammable liquids to kindle or rekindle a fire because the flammable vapors can explode
  • Keep the damper open while the fuel is burning to provide for efficient burning and to prevent accumulation of poisonous or explosive gases
  • Remove colored comic sections before rolling newspapers into logs because the colored inks contain lead and can produce toxic gases
  • Keep children away from the fire because their clothing can easily ignite
  • Be sure that all ashes have thoroughly cooled before you dispose of them
  • Put ashes in a lidded metal container to prevent a possible fire and provide a sturdy place to store them
  • Be sure the fire is out completely before retiring for the evening
  • Do not use your wood-brining fireplaces or stoves on “red burn days” when they should not be used due to the air quality

If constructed properly, fireplaces will perform safely and dependably. Fireplaces, just like anything else, wear over a period of years and need to be maintained to extend their life.

Please take the time to maintain your fireplace.