With autumn on the way, Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service (WFRS) are reminding residents to have their chimney swept by a registered chimney sweep this Chimney Fire Safety Week (2 – 8 September).
There are a number of steps homeowners can take to prevent and protect their property from fire, and getting your chimney swept is just as important as checking your smoke alarm. Last year, WFRS attended 50 chimney fires across the county and they’ve already attended 26 so far this year, so it is important not to become a statistic by taking the necessary steps to prevent and protect your property.
Some of the most common causes of chimney fires are infrequent sweeping and cleaning, burning unseasoned wet wood and overnight burning. To keep your wood burning stove safe and to make the most of it, 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.
As well as testing your smoke alarm monthly, don’t forget to test your carbon monoxide alarm regularly too before the weather cools down and you start having nights by the fire with your family. If you have an oil or gas fire, it should be cleaned once a year, however wood burning stoves should be cleaned up to four times a year to be kept safe.
Warwickshire County Councillor, Portfolio Holder for Community Safety and Fire, Andy Crump said:
“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. A blocked or defective chimney can cause both chimney fires and carbon monoxide poisoning, so it’s very important to employ a professional qualified chimney sweep.”
“In addition to getting your chimney swept, I would urge all householders to ensure that they have a working smoke alarm on each floor of their home. They are lifesavers and will give you the early warning you need should you have a fire.”
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
For more advice on maintaining your chimney, visit: https://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/chimneyfiresafety