Rise in chimney fires prompts safety reminder to public

Open fire

Firefighters in Northamptonshire attended 70 per cent more chimney fires last year, compared to the year before.

In the financial year 2019-2020, Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS) attended 68 chimney fires, compared to 40 in 2018-2019.

With the colder weather now setting in, NFRS would like to remind people to please have their chimney swept to cut the risk of resulting fires.

With the popularity of log burners and other fuel burning devices, the service’s Prevention Team would like to reinforce the importance of regular chimney maintenance.

Prevention Team Leader Darren Carson: “People often lead busy lives and the cold weather sneaks up on them before they have had the chance to organise a chimney sweep.

“I would urge people to please not tuck such an important fire prevention step to the back of their minds, but book one today. In worst case scenarios, a fire starting in a chimney could lead to a significant house fire or at least cause severe damage to your chimney. It’s not worth the risk.

“Regular cleaning can remove the soot and tar deposits. Sweeps can also check for any issues with the chimney or the liner.”

Chimney fire safety tips:

  • Have your chimney swept regularly
  • 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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