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COVID-19 – Cumbria Fire & Rescue Service calls for improved chimney fire safety

Firefighters tackle a chimney fire in Penrith

Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service (CFRS) is calling for improved chimney fire safety awareness following recent incidents involving chimney fires in the county during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Chimney fires in England typically account for over 4,000 incidents dealt with by fire and rescue services each year. CFRS is calling on homeowners to get their chimneys swept by an approved sweep to prevent chimney damage, and, in worse cases, household fires. Chimney sweeping is one of the home maintenance works still permitted during the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, as it is a key safety feature of the home.

HETAS is the national organisation working for consumer safety and the wider public interest in safe, efficient and environmentally responsible use of biomass and other solid fuels. The HETAS website has a range of information about chimney sweeping and how to find an approved sweep in your area – www.hetas.co.uk

Will Richardson, Group Manager for Prevention at Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service, says there are steps homeowners can take to prevent and protect their property: “To keep you and your family safe from fire you should make sure you have your chimney swept regularly.  To make the most of your wood burning stove, ensure you are using quality wood fuel, maintain your appliance and chimney regularly and check you are using your appliance in accordance with the manufacturers’ instructions.

“The HETAS website has a range of useful tips to help you get the best performance from your stove.”

Will also stresses the importance for homes to have carbon monoxide detectors fitted for those that have open fires, wood burning stoves and gas appliances.

“Carbon monoxide is known as the silent killer, you can’t see it, you can’t taste it, but it is a killer if left undetected. Please do purchase a CO alarm to keep your loved ones safe.  Many detectors are now available for less than £10.”

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