Wood Stove Safety for the Winter

Lynchburg, VA - Lynchburg firefighters want to make sure your home is safe now that the temperature is dropping, and they are using "Fire Prevention Week" to get the word out.

Wood stoves are always a fire concern. The U.S. Fire Administration says 4,000 homes catch fire every year from a wood stove. Would you know what to do if it happened to you?

It's a small quiz you can take online, but it speaks volumes. The National Fire Protection Association is curious: What do you know about fire safety?

Heller says at his shop, wood stove sales are only heating up thanks to a weak economy.

"The cost of fuel, oil, electricity has gone way up. You're still able to get it for a lot less and it's more efficient for these wood burners - old school," said Heller from Hearth Pros and Aqua Pros.

A wood stove may help the pocketbook, but is it safe? Fire Chief Steven Ferguson says that depends on several things.

"If you're burning good, seasoned hardwood and maintain your stove, yeah, they're safe," he said.

He also gave some other safety tips: When the fire is burning, keep glass doors open to prevent creosote buildup. When the fire is out, close glass doors to keep embers in the stove. Last but not least - have a certified chimney sweeper inspect your wood stove and chimney every single year.

"That's important. That's like getting the oil changed in your car. I mean, these are things you have to do to keep it safe to be on the road," said Heller.

Just like a car in a garage, when you aren't near your wood stove this winter, it's best to turn it off.

"Basically, if you're not there, you ought to put the fire out or not leave it unattended," said Ferguson.

If you'd like to take that fire safety quiz, check it out here.