Rob Neale: Hi! I am Rob Neale, Deputy Superintendent of the United States Fire Administration, in Emmitsburg, Maryland. We have had a great time building this fire and watching it burn and enjoying it on this nice cold day. Now, we are not going to walkaway from this just yet, because it's still burning, but we are going to keep an eye on it. But I want to talk to you a little bit about some of the things that you can do to maintain your fireplace and wood stove safely, so that in the next burning season you will be ready to go.
First and foremost, make sure that you get that chimney inspected by somebody who knows what they are doing. There is a lot of companies out there who will actually drop a video camera down the chimney to make sure they get a good thorough inspection of it and get rid of all that creosote that might be built up in there, so you won't have a chimney fire. Make sure that you don't have your newspapers stacked up against the fireplace. Make sure that your air dampers and your flues are maintained in a regular basis. Sometimes, at the end of the night, people are getting ready to go to bed, they want to close the damper on the fireplace before they go to bed. If the fire is absolutely, positively out, and it's cold to the touch, you can do that. And closing that damper will help keep the warm air of the house inside the house. But if there is any heat left in that fire and you close the damper, you have a serious chance of the fire starting up again and smoke coming back into your house and making a smelly, nasty mess. Make sure that you have that fire extinguisher nearby just in case. And always, always, make sure that the fire is absolutely, positively out. Not like this one, but make sure it's out before you go to bed at night. With those few tips, you will have a wonderful fireplace in heating season and a safe one that you can enjoy again next year.