Fireplace Safety

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 70,406
    Rob Neale, Deputy Superintendent of the United States Fire Administration, talks about how to build a fire in your fireplace and how to do it safely.

    Rob Neale: Hello! I am Rob Neale, Deputy Superintendent of the United States Fire Administration, in Emmitsburg, Maryland. Today we are going to talk about how to build a fire in your fireplace and how to do it safely. In today's series, we will be covering the following items:First, we will explain how to conduct a visual inspection of your fireplace, both inside and out. This will help assure that you have a safe firebox and that you won't have any problems. Second, we will talk about the different types of fireplaces that might be on the market, and what will be a best choice for you and your family, depending on where you are going to install it.

    Next, we will talk about the importance of choosing proper firewood and making sure that its dry in laying up a fire, so that it burns efficiently and safely. We will follow that by how to light the fire and how to tend the fire in a fireplace to make sure that it doesn't get out of control.

    We will explain how to properly extinguish a fire. And finally, we will talk about the importance of maintaining your fireplace, to make sure that it gives you long life and a safe environment in which to operate.

    So now let's talk about what you are going to need. It doesn't take too much to have the right materials to have a safe fire and a fire that's enjoyable and pleasant and will help keep you warm during the cold winter season.

    First, obviously you need a good fireplace or a good solid wood stove or appropriate appliance for building the fire in. You are going to need some good season dry firewood. You need little bit of newspaper to get the fire started, couple of matches; kitchen matches, common kitchen matches or paper matches will be just the appropriate thing that you need.

    Finally, of course, a good set of fireplace tools. You can find them at any hardware store, and they will come in very handy for managing the fire. Now, we will be going over safety precautions in the rest of the video series. But a few things to keep in mind. Always have a fire extinguisher handy, in case you need it. Always keep fires attended by adult responsible supervision. And never use any kind of flammable or combustible liquid to start a fire. Make sure your fireplace is clean and its been inspected on a regular basis. And simply, just use good commonsense, make sure you take care of that fire in a way that it's not going to threaten you in any way.

    But before we get started, let's talk a little bit about the United States Fire Administration and I will tell you a little bit about myself as well. The United States Fire Administration has been around for about 35 years. We were charted by Congress to improve the professionalism of America's fire service. And we do that through our National Fire Programs Division, through the National Fire Academy, and through the maintenance of our facilities here at Emmitsburg, Maryland.

    I have been in the fire service almost 40 years. I started as a volunteer firefighter, like many do, by working my way up into the career service, and ultimately, became a Fire Chief, and a Municipal Fire Marshal from the Pacific Northwest. I have been at the United States Fire Administration for almost nine years. Its been a wonderful opportunity for me to share and give back to the fire service what I have gained over my career.

    So let's get started, we will talk about building these fires in a way that you can enjoy them and be safe doing it.