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Fireplace Safety

WARNING! Do not use a bag to dispose of ashes. Can your ashes.

Most people do not view the improper disposal of fireplace ashes as a serious home safety threat, but statistics prove otherwise. The National Fire Protection Association recently released statistical data taken from the years 1994 – 1998, concerning fires started by a hot ember or ash that was abandoned or discarded. According to this survey, we can expect the following to occur each year:

  • 9,870 structure fires
  • 32 civilian deaths
  • 171 civilian injuries
  • $1,16.5 property damage ( in millions)

Proper Fireplace Cleaning Methods

When you clean your fireplace, there are a few things to keep in mind.

  1. You should always place discarded fireplace ashes in a heavy metal container, moisten the ashes and cover the container with a metal lid. NEVER USE A PAPER BAG, a cardboard box or a plastic trash bag in the cleaning process. Never use a vacuum cleaner to pick up ashes.
  2. Ashes should be kept in a metal container outside, away from the house to cool. Your garage, house, or deck are dangerous locations for ashes to cool. After ashes have cooled in a metal container, it is necessary to find a suitable disposal site. Never dump fireplace ashes until they have had at least four days to cool. Even after four days, great care should be given in selecting a dump site. Wooded areas should always be avoided.

Proper Disposal of Fireplace Ashes

Garden areas or flower beds are ideal locations to dump cooled fireplace ashes, allowing many nutrients to return to the soil. Please survey the area and evaluate any additional hazards before disposing of your cooled ashes. Make sure all dry leaves have been removed from the area before dumping your ashes in either a garden or flower bed that is away from the house and remember to moisten the area.

What Can You Do to Help?

The most important contribution you as a homeowner can make to our campaign is simply to heed our message of prevention to tell family and friends. Our goal is to eliminate this problem in Tooele City. Every fire we prevent brings us closer to success. Just remember our simple slogan: “Can Your Ashes””