‘Remember to have your chimney swept’ is one of the key messages to the public, after nearly 100 chimney fires were seen in Northamptonshire during a single year.
With colder nights fast approaching, Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS) would like to remind people to make sure their chimneys are ready for the winter months ahead.
From 2014 to 2015, NFRS were called out to 95 chimney fires, so the organisation is keen to support Chimney Fire Safety Week, which starts today (September 5).
Nationally, chimney fires accounted for more than 5,000 incidents dealt with by fire and rescue services between April 2014 and March 2015.
People are being urged to make sure they have their chimneys swept by a registered sweep, to prevent chimney damage and, in the worst cases, household fires.
Lisa Bryan, District Liaison Officer for NFRS’s Home Safety Team, said: “To keep you and your family safe from fire you should make sure you have your chimney swept regularly before the colder months set in and you begin to use your fire again.
“If the worst should happen and a fire does break out, working smoke alarms can give you an early warning. Smoke alarms should be present on every level of your home and should be tested monthly. Having a fire escape plan that is known by yourself and everyone you live with can also help if an escape has to be made.
“It is important to take this advice on board and to pass it on to others, as well as thinking about the people in your life who may need help in organising a sweep or testing their alarms.”
To find a certified chimney sweep, or for more information on chimney fire safety, visit www.hetas.co.uk
Chimney fire safety – points to remember:
-All chimneys and flues 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 is vital to employ a professional, qualified chimney sweep
-Remind friends and family to get their chimneys swept
-Chimneys should be swept according to the type of fuel 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. Any work on gas appliances requires a Gas Safe registered installer/engineer).
-Chimney Fire Safety Week is a national campaign organised jointly between the Fire Kills campaign and HETAS (Heating Equipment Testing and Approvals Scheme)
-Keep chimneys, flues and appliances clean and well maintained
-Ensure fire is extinguished before going to bed or leaving the house
-Never store fuel next to an appliance