Chimney fire safety week

4 – 10 September 2017

We are supporting Chimney Fire Safety Week to reduce instances of chimney fires through raising awareness of safe chimney use, including the importance of ensuring that chimneys are swept regularly, are clean and appropriate quality fuel is used.

There are over 5,500 preventable chimney fires in England, Wales and Scotland, the most common causes being poor chimney maintenance, inappropriately sized or poorly installed appliances, blocked chimneys from soot or bird nests and the burning of unseasoned wood.

Chimney Fire Safety Week 2017 takes place from the 4th to the 10th September this year. The event is intended to highlight the causes of chimney fires and educate homeowners on how to prevent a chimney fire from occurring in the first place.

How to prevent chimney fires

Follow these simple tips to greatly reduce your chances of having a fire in your chimney

1. Have your chimney inspected and swept on a regular basis by a qualified chimney sweep: a HETAS approved chimney sweep, a member of the National Association of Chimney Sweeps or the Guild of Master Chimney Sweeps.

HETAS recommends sweeping at least:
twice a year when burning wood
once a year when burning smokeless fuels

2. Only use seasoned firewood with moisture content below with moisture content below 20%

3. Never leave a fire unattended – Extinguish before leaving the house or going to bed

4. Install a smoke alarm – Make sure you have a working smoke alarm and check it works regularly

5. Use a stove thermometer – Install stovepipe thermometers to help monitor flue temperatures and adjust burning practices as needed

6. Avoid slumbering an appliance (unless it has been tested as safe to do so). Slumber mode is when an appliance is purposely set at a low or minimum output normally for overnight burning to be revived in the morning without the need for relighting.

What to do in the event of the chimney fire

Always call the Fire and Rescue Service for a chimney fire – it has the ability to destroy your home.

After a chimney fire
After a chimney fire has occurred it must be inspected thoroughly as soon as possible by a Certified Sweep before the chimney is used again. This is to ascertain if the rapid and dramatic changes of temperature, which would have occurred within the chimney, have caused any damage and also to determine the need for any remedial measures. It is imperative that the chimney is not used prior to inspection.

Sources:

Chimney Fire Safety Week – Tips and advice

HETAS Advice Leaflets – Chimneys and lining

Docherty Group – The importance of chimney liners

FireNet – Chimney fires

Have you got any questions?

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