Using your fireplace and wood stove during the fall and winter keeps the house toasty and warm, but when children and pets are around you should take additional measures to protect those who don’t understand the dangers. The first rule of thumb when it comes to fire,children and pets should never be left alone with extreme, heat, open flames,or hot embers. Discuss fireplace and wood stove safety with children as early as possible,to ensure they know not to touch the doors or panels of a fireplace or wood stove.

At any time,but especially when pets and children are around, a lit fireplace should have mesh. or grate cover, or glass doors. It may be necessary to add a gate around the fireplace hearth.This allows a physical barrier to keep children and pets at a safe distance . Here are some more safety tips:

*Have your fireplace or wood stove swept and inspected annually by a certified chimney professional

*Be careful that nothing is placed near the fireplace unless the ashes are cold

*Matches used to light the fireplace or wood stove should never be within reach of children

*Fireplace or wood stove remote controls should be out of reach of little hands

*Have a switch-lock installed on your gas fireplace starter so that children cannot turn it on

*Fireplace tools can be dangerous and should not be used as toys;secure them or make them inaccessible to children

*Never put a Christmas tree near a fireplace,as the tree could easily catch on fire by a spark

*Never leave the house or retire for the night without ensuring that the fireplace and wood stove is completely out

* Make sure all smoke alarms are in working condition

*If you have birds, keep them well away from the fireplace, they have sensitive lungs and circulatory systems

With some extra care you and your family can enjoy the long lasting warmth of a fire all winter long while ensuring the safety of your children and pets.