Is your chimney ready?

Fire service

Fire service

It’s already cold and colder is expected, so are you sure your chimney is clean and ready to light?

Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Serviceise reminding everyone to check their chimney is safe and has been swept by a registered chimney sweep.

Alan Gilson, Community Safety Prevention Manager explains:  “All chimneys and flues need to be regularly cleaned and checked to ensure they’re free from debris and in full working order. A blocked or defective chimney can cause both chimney fires and carbon monoxide poisonings.

“If the worst should happen, working smoke alarms can give you an early warning, make sure you have at least one smoke alarm on every level of your home and test them monthly. Also do you have family, friends or a neighbour who may need your help to test their smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms?”

How often should you have your chimney swept?
Smokeless coals – at least once a year
Wood- up to four times a year
Bituminous coal – twice a year
Oil – once a year
Gas- once a year

Wood burning stoves

The increased efficiency of such stoves, whilst very welcome, has its own implications with regard to fire risk.

Such efficiency depends on a high flue gas temperature of around 500°C which is concentrated in a narrow air column. When installed in a properly regulated, modern chimney this type of system is a highly effective way of getting maximum heat out of burning wood; but where ancient chimney stacks are concerned, the inappropriate introduction of such installations, with metal liners can create serious problems.

If in doubt, ask and don’t use any chimney related appliance until you are sure it is safe!

Smoke alarms

Fit working smoke alarms on each floor level in your home. Consider buying an alarm with a ten year battery, otherwise change the battery every year alarm and regularly test your smoke alarm.

Carbon Monoxide

Carbon Monoxide (CO) is the most common form of household poison. You can’t see it, taste it or smell it. CO poisoning can be fatal or cause permanent damage to your health. Make sure you are not at risk from carbon monoxide poisoning by having appliances installed and serviced by competent engineers, never block air bricks, vents or flues and fit a carbon monoxide detector.

Top Tips

•Don’t use flammable liquids such as petrol or paraffin to light your fire.

•Don’t burn paper or rubbish.

•Do not overload the fire with fuel.

•Go into the loft occasionally, when the fire is alight, to check for smoke from cracks, defective brickwork or mortar joints.

Make the call to request free Home Safety advice call free on: now 0800 05 02 999. For any other fire safety advice, contact the Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue helpline on: 01392 872288 or visit our website

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