Firefighters urge wood stove safety

North Okanagan residents are turning to their wood stoves and fireplaces as the winter chill sets in

North Okanagan residents are turning to their wood stoves and fireplaces as the winter chill sets in.

As a result, the Vernon Fire Department is urging residents to be safe.

“Open the damper before lighting the fire, and keep it open until the ashes are cool enough to touch,” said Lawrie Skolrood, deputy fire chief.

“Ensure the fire is completely out before going to bed or leaving the house.”

Do not store combustible materials, such as paper or wood, too close to the fireplace. Use dry, well-seasoned wood in small amounts.

Have chimneys cleaned and serviced at regular intervals by a professional.

Another thing to keep in mind is to never overload your fireplace.

“Never use charcoal starter fluids, gasoline or any flammable substance to start fires,” said Skolrood.

“When using artificial logs, burn only one at a time and follow instructions on the wrapping.”

Always place the ashes in a metal container and take them outside of the house.

Fireplaces, stoves and inserts become hot during operation.

This is a characteristic associated with their function of providing heat in the home.

“Parents are advised to keep small children away from fireplaces, stoves and inserts,” said Skolrood.

“These appliances should be treated with the same caution as hot range tops, ovens and clothing irons. Physical barriers, such as adjustable safety gates in doorways, can be used to keep children, as well as pets, a safe distance away.”