A jolly holiday season can be made even more merry with a roaring fire. Homeowners often build holiday tableaus around the fireplace to serve as festive backdrops. The mantle and the fireplace itself also may be a prime spot to dedicate to decorating this time of year.
Even though Christmas tree fires are rare, according to the U.S. Fire Administration, when they do occur they're likely to be serious. That is why trees and other flammable decorations need to be kept clear of gas and wood-burning fireplaces and stoves. In addition, many other guidelines should be heeded to ensure fireplaces and holiday decor safely coexist this season.
Read labels on decorative items carefully before decorating. Be sure to only select items that are flame-resistant or retardent. Cherished collectibles and other items should always be kept far away from open flames and heat.
It pays to have a fireplace inspected and cleaned for use prior to operation, advises Doherty Insurance Agency. Rely on a trained chimney sweep, and have the fireplace and chimney inspected and cleaned at least once per year.
Even though it may be picturesque, do not place wrapped packages or gift boxes near the fireplace, as they tend to be highly combustible. Keep presents and other flammable items at least three feet away from the fireplace.
Do not be tempted to dispose of wrapping paper, boxes or even a Christmas tree in the fireplace. Wrapping paper contains additives that make it burn at high temperatures. A Christmas tree hasn't been properly seasoned and could be a fire hazard and potentially contribute to excessive smoke and creosote.
Keep decorations that kids will be tempted to touch away from the fireplace so kids do not hang out near the heat and open flames.
Fireplaces are often a focal point of holiday decorating and entertaining. Homeowners who want to incorporate their fireplaces into their holiday decor must emphasize safety when doing so.