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Fireplaces and Mantels Education Center

Child Safety

Fireplace safety is extremely important. The following list provides simple suggestions you can do yourself, including common safety products available at most local hardware stores.

1. Foam Padding

Foam padding, also know as a hearth guard, can be placed along the edges of the fireplace hearth. This is an easy safety measure which takes very little time to implement. You should be able to locate safety child-proofing foam at your local hardware store, or baby store.

2. Fireplace Safety Gate

A fireplace safety gate is another common precautionary product you can purchase at most home improvement stores. This product is very easy to add or remove whenever necessary. The gate will prevent kids from getting too close to the fireplace by setting a perimeter around it.

3. Fireplace Fixed Screen or Glass

Fireplace fixed screens or curtains come standard with most of our Vent Free fireplaces, and offer a good protective barrier. These lightweight mesh screens are very practical, allowing easy access to the fireplace cavity when necessary. All of our Direct Vent fireplaces come standard with a tempered glass barrier as these units are completely sealed. Cosmetic facings such as glass doors are also available for most fireplaces, and provide additional safety. Please keep in mind that while all barriers work to prevent a child from reaching into the fire, they will conduct heat, and may be hot to the touch.

4. Remove all Fireplace Tools and Matches

Fireplace tools are heavy and may contain sharp edges, therefore please be sure to keep all fireplace tools away from children. In addition, please put away all matches, lighters, or any other similar devices.

5. Vented vs Vent Free Gas Fireplaces

We recommend that you familiarize yourself with the differences between vented and vent free systems (also known as ventless or unvented). With a vented system, all gas emissions are released into the outside atmosphere via some venting mechanism. Vent Free systems however, have no venting mechanism whatsoever. Vent Free burners operate at 99.9% efficiency and therefore do not have dangerous emissions (contingent on a properly installed, maintained, and serviced system). Please note that Vent Free systems are restricted in certain localities or states, therefore please check your local building codes before purchasing. With regards to safety recommendations, there is no right or wrong system as both are equally safe. We simply wanted to highlight the difference between both styles for your review and consideration.

6. Oxygen Depletion Sensors

All of our Vent Free fireplaces come standard with Oxygen Depletion Sensors (ODS). These sensors will set-off an alarm if the oxygen level drop to an unsafe point. The sensor is typically set at a very sensitive level, and will also shut the gas burner off for your added safety. Oxygen Depletion Sensors are mandated by law.

7. Fire Extinguishers, Smoke Alarms, and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

When dealing with fire in any capacity in your home, it's important to have a working fire extinguisher nearby. Please make sure that your fire extinguisher has a valid inspection sticker, and meets all local, state, and federal guidelines.

The presence of smoke alarms and proper placement of the device is extremely important as well. While you should always check with your local fire authority, smoke alarms are typically best placed on the ceiling, just 12-14 inches from the inside a doorway. It is also recommended to avoid placing smoke alarms in a corner. 

A carbon monoxide detector should be installed when using any gas fireplace because they are designed to burn their entire gas supply. CO detectors work in a similar way to smoke alarms by monitoring carbon monoxide levels in your home and sounding an alarm if elevated levels are detected. Many states now require CO alarms be installed in residences, therefore please check your local building codes. 

Fireplace safety is essential for keeping your children as safe as they can be. With simple safety elements in place, you will be able to have peace of mind that your family is cared for.

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