The weather in the UK is gradually turning chillier, and households across the country are turning up the heating up or lighting the fire more frequently to stay cosy.
But, for those with chimneys, there are certain maintenance checks you should carry out in order to avoid accidental fires from occurring.
Correct chimney maintenance
Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service (LFRS) are asking that people check their chimneys this winter, ensuring that they are clean and clear, and only burn appropriate things in their fireplaces.
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You should not burn household waste, and you should ensure you use clean dry logs that are stored not too close to the fire.
Use a fire guard and avoid drying clothes in front of the fire or standing too close to it, in order to avoid causing ignition from radiating heat or ‘jumping’ embers.
LFRS recommends getting your chimney swept on an annual basis, which can reduce fires from breaking out.
The National Association of Chimney Sweeps is a good resource for finding a local chimney sweep, and its members are permitted to enter people’s homes in order to carry out vital safety maintenance, providing they and customers wear appropriate PPE and maintain social distancing.
As well as cleaning your chimney, you should also make sure you have a working smoke alarm in your property, and it is also sensible to fit a carbon monoxide alarm too, due to these kinds of fires needing appropriate ventilation, explains the LFRS.
‘This issue can be made considerably worse if burning inappropriate composite materials’
Watch Manager, Neil Mitchell, from Chorley Fire Station, explained the dangers of not cleaning your chimney and burning incorrect materials.
He said, “I would estimate we go to about 12 chimney fires in the winter period which have been caused by lack of regular chimney sweeping even if burning appropriate materials like coal or wood, this issue can be made considerably worse if burning inappropriate composite materials.
“We also attend about six fires related to open fires which spread due to a fault in either the structure of the chimney stack or the fire itself for example an incorrectly installed wood burner.”