Build a Comforting Fire Safely

Self-Defense and Safety is sometimes just doing things in a sensible, cautious manner. I often tell people, if they truly knew how boring 90% of executive protection work is, it wouldn’t seem nearly as “sexy”.

Being as we have a serious cold front coming (and a bunch of snow) I thought this might be a timely article for some.

In the midst of winter, there are few better antidotes to the cold than a cozy fire in the fireplace. Before you start, though, make sure you’re doing it safely:


  • Open the damper or flue (and create an updraft) before you start the fire. Keep it open well after the fire has died out to ensure that all the smoke is drawn out of your home.


  • Burn well-aged, dry wood. Wet or green wood makes smoky fires. It also increases the buildup of soot on chimney walls. If this material builds up too much, it’s likely to cause a chimney fire.


  • Build smaller, faster-burning fires. They’re not only brighter, but they smoke less.


  • Don’t let the ash build up more than an inch at the base of the fireplace. Too much ash restricts air supply and results in more smoke.


  • Keep a fire extinguisher close enough to be in easy reach—but at least four feet from the fireplace.


  • Check your chimney annually. Even if it doesn’t need cleaning, it’s a good idea to check for any nests or other blockages that can cause more smoke and prevent dangerous gases from escaping.


  • Never use liquid fire starters. The liquids evaporate into the air surrounding the fireplace, making it dangerous to light a match.


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