With autumn on its way Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service (WFRS), the National Association of Chimney Sweeps and HETAS have joined forces to urge householders to ensure their chimney is safe and to have their chimney swept by a registered chimney sweep this Chimney Fire Safety Week (3 – 9 September). There were 65 chimney fires across the county between April 2017 and March 2018.
There are steps homeowners can take to prevent and protect their property. To keep you and your family safe from fire you should make sure you have your chimney swept regularly, depending on what fuel you burn, before the colder months set in and you begin to use your fire again. To make the most of your wood burning stove, ensure you are using quality woodfuel, maintain your appliance and chimney regularly and check you are using your appliance in accordance with the manufacturers’ instructions. The HETAS website has a range of useful tips to help you get the best performance from your stove.
Station Manager for Prevention, Keith Mc Dermott said: “A clean and efficient chimney is not only the best way to protect against chimney fires but also prevents inefficient burning of fuels which creates dangerous carbon monoxide. Now is the time to book your chimney sweep, not waiting until a cold snap is upon up and it may be too late. With 65 chimney fires in Warwickshire last year it is so important you take steps to prevent and protect your property, as any fire can get out of control.
Warwickshire County Councillor Portfolio Holder for Community Safety and Fire Andy Crump added: “With the colder, winter months looming, people will begin to start using open fires and their chimneys again. In order to keep you and your family safe from fire, you need to take necessary steps such as ensuring your chimney is swept regularly, depending upon what fuel you burn and I would urge all householders to have a working smoke alarm in their home.
Open fires not only warm up a home, but also create a unique relaxing ambience. With the numbers of people using open fires growing, Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service have provided some top tips for safer chimneys:
- Always use a fire guard to protect against flying sparks from hot embers
- Make sure embers are properly put out before you go to bed
- Keep chimneys and flues clean and well maintained
Chimney sweep Emily Skeet explains that sweeping is a quick and hassle-free process for homeowners: “There are a number of myths that needs to be dispelled about chimney sweeping. I think the first images to come into people’s minds are of small, soot-covered children, from ‘Mary Poppins’. Today, it’s a very different reality.” Emily, who runs her own sweeping business, carries out up to six sweeps a day. She adds: “A normal sweep will take me about an hour and a half as I like to have a good chat with the client about their appliance. Contrary to what many people may think, I don’t make a mess. I use modern methods and tools such as a powersweeping, CCTV and vacuums to ensure minimal disturbance for the homeowner. I’ve had a few cases where customers move all of their furniture out of the room, which really isn’t necessary!” “People wouldn’t think twice about getting their cars MOT’d, but home appliances often get neglected so I keep in regular contact with clients to remind them which they really appreciate. It might not be on the top of everyone’s to-do lists, but you really can’t afford to risk leaving these things unattended.”
For more information on maintaining your chimney please visit: https://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/chimneyfiresafety