Many find the winter holidays to be their favorite time of year. Colorful decorations, warming up by the fire, decorating Christmas trees and lighting candles, and other activities with friends and family make this a special moment. However, before hanging those stockings by the fireplace, make sure to follow our fire prevention tips for this festive holiday season:

  1. Chimney Cleaning and Inspection

Before burning your Yule logs, get a chimney inspection and cleaning. If you’ve had your chimney inspected this year, kudos. If you have not had a chimney inspection, we highly recommend getting one.

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends getting your chimney cleaned and inspected every year. A chimney inspection and cleaning can eliminate any hazardous soot, creosote, and glazing that could be in your chimney. And inspection will also analyze the integrity of your chimney and firebox to make sure it’s all up to par before using the fireplace or wood stove.

  1. Smoke Detector Check

Making sure that your smoke alarms on every level are in working order. It is recommended having some spare batteries that will fit your smoke detector. Hearing that loud chirp sound when your smoke detector battery needs replacing and realizing you don’t have any spare batteries can be quite the bummer.

  1. Carbon Monoxide Detector Check

Carbon monoxide is a dangerous gas that you cannot smell. It is important to take the necessary precautions to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. Make sure to keep your carbon monoxide detectors working.

  1. Burn Seasoned Wood

When you’re burning wood in your fireplace or wood stove, make sure that you are only burning seasoned wood. The less moisture there is in the wood, the less soot and creosote buildup will happen.

  1. Dispose of Ashes Properly

Dispose of ashes from the fireplace or wood stove with care. Sometimes there are unexpected hot coals still embedded in the ashes. Make sure to wear gloves as well. Lastly, a 5-gallon plastic bucket will melt with hot coals or even ashes; use a metal bucket and keep it away from anything flammable for a period of time to ensure it is fully cooled before disposal.

  1. Don’t Place Wrapped Packages/Boxes Near a Fire

Because of combustibility, it is NOT a good idea to place your wrapped gifts or boxes near the fireplace while a fire is present. Make sure to keep all combustible materials at least 3 feet away from any candles, portable heater, wood stoves or fireplaces.

  1. Do Not Burn Wrapping Paper

Wrapping paper, other boxes, cardboard packaging, and color paper contain additives which make burning these types of materials dangerous. The chemicals used in these products cause extremely high temperatures when burned. These higher temperatures could trigger a chimney fire. Do not burn your wrapping paper in the fireplace.

  1. Do Not Burn Your Christmas Tree

It is not uncommon for some to think of disposing their Christmas tree by chopping them up and burning them in the fireplace. This is a bad idea. Unless the tree has been properly dried for burning, it may become a fire hazard.

  1. Keep a Fire Extinguisher on Hand

This rule seems obvious–get fire extinguishers for the home. Fires can happen. It is always recommended to keep a fire extinguisher close by in order to put it out before it’s too late.

With these tips you can enjoy a warm, cozy holiday season without any of the stress caused by fireplace or chimney trouble. We want to make sure that nothing goes wrong while you are enjoying yourselves or after the festivities are over. Taking time to review these safety precautions is important! At Bender Hatch Insurance, we look forward to helping keep you and your family safe by providing the insurance coverage for all your home needs. You can reach us at (617) 367-4900 or online at

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