Our area has numerous historical structures that have been converted into apartments. A surprising number of these have fireplaces in them. This is a relic of a time before central heating, when wood-burning fireplaces were often the most economical way of heating up a domestic space. If you’re considering using fireplaces in apartments, be sure to keep these safety tips in mind.
Check with Your Landlord
Before you even think about lighting a fire in your apartment fireplace, be sure to check with your landlord to ensure that the fireplace is in working order. Many fireplaces in apartments have been blocked off and are purely decorative in the present day. If this is the case for you, don’t be too devastated. It’s still an interesting historical touch to your living space. With caution, you might consider lighting candles underneath it instead.
While you’re contacting your landlord, be sure to ask if the chimney has been recently swept. You should not skip this step even with fireplaces in apartments. Chimneys should be swept at least once annually. If not, the buildup of creosote poses a major risk for house fires.
Test Smoke Alarms
You’re going to want to test your smoke alarms before you consider lighting a fire. Most apartment leases include a clause about the onus of testing smoke alarms falling on the tenant. If the alarm doesn’t sound, replacing the batteries should do the trick. If not, your landlord should hire a specialist to diagnose the problem.
Ideally, you should never leave your fireplace unattended. In the case of candles, this is easy. But it’s not easy or practical to put out a fire in the fireplace if you briefly must step out of the room. For this reason, working smoke alarms are crucial. And remember—don’t ever leave the fire unattended for longer than a minute or so. Things can progress out of control fast.
Have a Fire Extinguisher Nearby
Even if you don’t have a fireplace in your apartment, we can’t emphasize enough the importance of having a fire extinguisher. But if you do have a working fireplace, make sure to keep one not too far away from it. Of course, you should also familiarize yourself with how to use it. No apartment should be considered safe from fires without at least one fire extinguisher—and especially not if you are lighting fires.
Commercial and Residential Fire Prevention from Judd Fire Protection
If you want to ensure your home and business are safe throughout the year, trust Judd Fire Protection, LLC. We have over two decades of experience designing, installing, inspecting, and repairing residential and commercial fire protection systems. We serve clients throughout Maryland, Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C., Virginia, and West Virginia. If you are interested in finding out more about our services and protecting your home and business, give us a call at 410-871-3480 or contact us online. For more fire safety tips, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.