Enjoy the fire you want, not the one you don’t – that’s the message from Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service (CFRS) during Chimney Fire Safety Week (4-10 September).
CFRS is calling on homeowners to clean up their act and get their chimneys swept by an approved sweep to prevent chimney damage and, in worst cases, household fires.
Station Manager Mark Ducie, from Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Chimney fires can be devastating as well as life threatening but there are some simple steps homeowners can take to protect themselves and their property. 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.”
To keep you and your family safe from fire you should make sure you have your chimney swept regularly, depending on what fuel you burn, before the colder months set in and you begin to use your fire again.
If the worst should happen, working smoke alarms can give you an early warning, and a fire-plan can help you ensure your family’s escape in a fire – make sure you have at least one smoke alarm on every level of your home and test them monthly. And 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 alarms?
Mark added: “Getting a chimney sweep is a quick and hassle-free process for homeowners. It normally takes about an hour to sweep a chimney and, contrary to what many people may think, they don’t make a mess. They use modern methods and tools such as a power-sweeping, CCTV and vacuums to ensure minimal disturbance for the homeowner. Customers sometimes move all of their furniture out of the room; this isn’t necessary these days.
“People wouldn’t think twice about getting their cars an MOT, but chimneys often get neglected so why not add it to your calendar or phone for the beginning of every September. It might not be on the top of everyone’s to-do lists, but you really can’t afford to risk not paying attention to the chimney stack.
“Cumbria Fire & Rescue Service also encourages home owners with either an open fire or wood burner to install a carbon monoxide detector in their properties. Carbon monoxide really does live up to its deadly name as the ‘Silent Killer’. It is colourless, odourless and tasteless. It is often mistaken for flu-like symptoms or a hangover. However, it is deadly! A carbon monoxide detector will save your life if there is a leak from any flame burning appliance – solid fuel and/or gas appliances.”
For more information on maintaining your chimney and how can help with fire prevention, please visit: www.chimneyfiresafetyweek.co.uk
Number of chimney fires attended by Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service over last five years:
- 2016/17 – 128
- 2015/16 – 121
- 2014/15 – 142
- 2013/14 – 177
- 2012/13 – 227