Chimney Safety WeekPosted
With the continuing drop in temperatures marking the end of summer, many of us will once again be lighting fires in our homes to keep warm, and with this comes the need to consider chimney safety.
This week (September 5th- 12th) marks national Chimney Safety Week and fire officers are encouraging residents to keep basic fire safety advice in mind before lighting their fires for the first time this autumn.
Most chimney fires are preventable - North Wales Fire and Rescue Service were called to 172 chimney fires last year.
Stuart Millington, Senior Fire Safety Manager for North Wales Fire and Rescue Service explains: “We did see a reduction in the number of chimney fires we attended last year compared to the previous year and it is good to see that the long lasting fire safety messages we promoted were effective.
“Again, this year we would like to remind the public about the importance of keeping yourself, and your family safe by reducing the risk of fires. All chimneys should be swept on a regular basis, and now is the perfect time to do so before the colder winter months set in and you begin to use your fire and chimneys again.
It costs less than £100 to have your chimney swept so I would urge everyone to arrange this before they light their first fire this autumn.”
To keep as safe as possible from chimney fires in the home, Stuart is issuing the following advice:
All chimneys and flue-ways should be cleaned and checked to ensure they are free from debris and in full working order before the heating season. 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 certified by the National Association of Chimney Sweeps.
Regular maintenance of your chimney will depend on the fuel you burn – if you burn oil or gas, your chimney should be swept once a year, Bituminous - coal twice a year, wood up to four times a year and smokeless coals at least once a year.
Do not burn wet wood
When thinking about heating your home, it’s important to purchase the correct size appliance for your room - an appliance which is too large will never be used hot enough to volatize all of the fuel within the wood and unburned fuel will pass up the chimney as smoke and condense within the flue as extremely flammable creosote.
Stuart added: “To reduce the risk of fire in your home, always make sure embers are properly put out before you go to bed and use a fire guard to protect against flying sparks from hot embers.
“If the worst should happen, a smoke alarm can give you the extra time you need to escape in a house fire - make sure you test yours regularly.”