Thinking of lighting your open fire now the chilly nights are creeping in? Make sure your chimney is swept first, the fire service is warning.
Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service is encouraging residents with open fires and chimneys to not light their cosy hearth until they have called in an approved and qualified chimney sweep.
A video has now been released on the service’s social media channels to encourage Cambridgeshire residents to get their chimney swept.
Group Commander Chris Parker, head of community fire safety at the service, said: “Last year the service saw a drop in the number of chimney fires to 72 for 2014/15, from 100 in 2013/14, but we don’t want residents to get complacent and we’re asking you to take action now before the winter snap really sets in.
“We’ve already attended a couple of chimney fires this week as we’ve seen the temperature drop and historically we start to see a rise in November with our busiest months for chimney fires being December through until March.
“Please get yourself prepared for winter and get your chimney swept before you use it.”
If you have an open fire in your home, it is vital the chimney is swept at least once a year to prevent a build up of debris which could start a fire.
In addition to this, the brickwork on the chimney should also be inspected, particularly in the roof space to ensure there are no cracked or broken bricks which embers could escape through.
Follow these top tips to enjoy an open fire safely:
· Have the chimney swept at least once a year, or more frequently if you burn wood
· Do not overload the grate or bank fires too high and remember to let them burn down well before you retire to bed
· Check the hearth, floor and furnishings near the fire for hot sparks or embers before you go to bed
· Use a fire or spark guard to prevent accidental fires and make sure that it has the kite mark or conforms to a relevant British/European safety standard
· Do not place objects on or over the mantle-piece which may cause you to stand too close to the fire to reach or use them
· Inspect your chimney breast regularly – particularly in the roof space – to ensure that it is sound and that sparks or fumes cannot escape through cracks or broken bricks
· Buy only suitable fuels and avoid burning resinous woods as soot builds up quickly.
Above all, ensure you have a working smoke alarm fitted on each floor of your home and a carbon monoxide alarm fitted if you burn solid fuel.