By Glenn Cooper
During cold winter evenings, a warm blanket and well-equipped fireplace are all you need for a cozy night in.
However, a fireplace brings more than comfort. According to Fire Prevention Canada, fire kills over 400 people a year nationwide, residential fires causing 73% of those deaths. With winter around the corner, it’s important to be aware of fire prevention and what your insurance policy offers.
“Fireplaces create a nice setting for homeowners to relax with loved ones,” says Wayne Ross, insurance expert at Aviva Canada. “Unfortunately, they can also add to serious fire risks, but taking simple measures can help avoid traumatic situations.”
Ross offers the following pointers to ensure that your fireplace remains a place of enjoyment in your home:
Get your fireplace ready: To avoid fire and smoke damage make sure that the damper opens and closes properly. If your chimney hasn’t been cleaned in a while, call a chimney sweeper.
Throw out flammable materials: Clear the area next to your fireplace of all flammable items including newspapers, carpets and fabrics. Even a small spark of fire can quickly spiral out of control.
Stay equipped: Install smoke detectors throughout your home. Time is of the essence when dealing with fires and a smoke detector can help avoid major disasters.
Fireplace accessories: Invest in a few tending tools. These can be used to rotate logs, ensure oxygen flow and clean up ashes – small steps that go a long way in fire prevention.
Check your insurance policy: Know your insurer’s guidelines and coverage so there are no surprises if you need to file a claim for damage. For example, many companies only cover fire damage if fireplaces are installed professionally.
Following these simple tips will ensure that your fireplace only leaves your family with pleasant memories this season. For more information, Fire Prevention Canada has a long list of safety tip fact sheets available, or contact your insurance broker for more info.