Get sweeping to cut the number of chimney fires in Northants

Cartoon image of a chimney

Firefighters were last winter called to more than 30 reports of chimney fires in Northamptonshire, prompting reminders for people to please have their chimneys swept.

With autumn and winter just around the corner, Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS) would like to encourage people to take an early opportunity to organise their chimney maintenance.

NFRS is supporting the national Chimney Fire Safety Week (August 31-September 6), when people are encouraged to research approved sweeps and arrange for their chimneys to be swept. This action could prevent chimney damage and, in the worst cases, household fires.

Between the beginning of November, 2019, and the end of February, 2020, firefighters in Northamptonshire attended 32 incidents related to chimney fires.

Prevention Team Leader Darren Carson said: “Recent months have been so busy and full of concerns for families everywhere affected by the pandemic. Other safety concerns can seem small by comparison, but we want to really push the message that fire safety should never be tucked away and forgotten about.

“Getting a chimney swept by an approved sweep is as simple as making a quick phone call or booking online. It doesn’t take long and it means more peace of mind for you and your family if you have taken one simple action that could prevent an avoidable house fire. Book your chimney clean now!”

Bruce Allen, CEO of HETAS, said: “Sweeping your chimney twice a year and using a quality assured fuel is the key to prevention. Not only does this remove soot and tar deposits, but also gives sweeps the opportunity to check for any problems with the chimney or liner.”

Chimney fire safety tips:

  • Have your chimney swept regularly before the colder months set in and you begin to use your fire again
  • Don’t keep this advice to yourself – pass it on. Is there anyone you know who may need your help in organising a sweep or testing their smoke alarms?
  • The frequency of sweeping should be according to the type of fuel being used. (Smokeless fuels – at least once a year, bituminous coal – at least twice a year, wood – quarterly when in use, oil – once a year, gas – once a year and refer to Gas Safe Register)
  • Get a carbon monoxide alarm fitted, in accordance with Building Regulations, and test regularly
  • Be careful when using open fires to keep warm. Make sure you always use a fire guard to protect against flying sparks from hot embers
  • Ensure the fire is extinguished before going to bed or leaving the house
  • Never interrupt the air supply by blocking air vents or air bricks
  • Make sure you have a smoke alarm on every level of your home and check them at least once a month to make sure they are working

For more information, see: www.chimneyfiresafetyweek.co.uk

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