MAVFC and State Fire Marshal Remind Marylanders to "Have Chimneys Properly Inspected and Cleaned"
By PIO Doug Alexander
October 1, 2023

As the first winter cold snap approaches. State Fire Marshal Brian S. Geraci is stressing the importance and value of insuring Marylander's safety by having chimneys and flues properly inspected. "The warmth of a fireplace or woodstove in the home should be an enjoyable experience, however, too often the proper inspection process is overlooked, which can lead to tragedy. Citizens should take the necessary steps to ensure their safety by having chimneys properly inspected and maintained to protect themselves from the dangers of a home fire", stated Geraci. Fire Chief Russell Halterman agrees and adds that "... the colder weather brings about greater use of alternate and supplemental heat sources. The utmost in care must be taken when these devices are put to use".

Please follow and share these basic guidelines to protect yourselves from the effects of a chimney fire.

o Ensure chimneys are inspected and maintained annually or more frequently if used as the primary heating source.

o Never use a flammable liquid to start a fire. Only use combustible materials like newspaper, kindling or approved fire-starting products to safely create a fire in a fireplace or woodstove.

o Use properly sized fireplace screens or enclosures.

o Keep combustibles at least three feet away from the source of heat.

o When disposing of cooled ashes, do not use paper or plastic containers to remove them, instead use a metal container. Ashes will insulate hot embers long after the fire is considered out. Store the ashes away from combustible materials even if in a metal container.

o Licensed chimney cleaning companies may be found in the phone book to have your chimney checked by a professional.