The North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (NYFRS) are reminding local householders to ensure their chimney is fire-safe while the weather is fine by booking a registered chimney sweep this Chimney Fire Safety Week (25 – 30 July).
The inviting warmth of an open fire is the last thing on most peoples’ minds in the Summer, but it’s best to check that your chimney is in the best of health before you start to use it. Surprisingly the peak season for the country’s professional chimney sweeps is in fact drawing very near, and with registered sweeps’ diaries filling up fast, householders should consider having their chimneys swept soon.
Harrogate Station manager Simon Render explained further about the problem: “Chimney fires can be a problem with high temperatures due to embers not being kept properly under control. We often see them in the Autumn time as people start to use open-fires with the cooler weather. It’s important to keep your chimneys swept regularly and how often depends on the fuel that you use”
Explaining further about what happens during a chimney fire: “We try and minimise any mess as the fire is normally in a lounge. We place salvage sheets in front of hearth then use water on the fire to extinguish it – the rising steam normally extinguishes and fire in the chimney itself, but sometimes we have to use a stirrup pump to spray water on the inside of the chimney.
“In some rare cases we also have to use an aerial platform to spray water down the chimney from the top, but only when there is an obstruction”
Simon Render – Harrogate Station Manager
Here are some tips for safer chimneys:
· Always use a fire guard to protect against flying sparks from hot embers
· Make sure embers are properly put out before you go to bed
· Keep chimneys and flues clean and well maintained
NYFRS Group Manager Trevor Lund explains: “An open fire is a great way to keep warm in the winter, but without proper maintenance a chimney can become dangerous. The latest statistics show that there are approximately 8,000 chimney fires a year in England, but most of these are preventable.
To keep yourself and your family safe from fire you should take care to have your chimney swept regularly. If the worst should happen, a smoke alarm can give you the extra time you need to escape in a house fire – make sure you test yours regularly. It is also a good idea to have a carbon monoxide alarm fitted.”
Martin P Glynn, the President of the National Association of Chimney Sweeps adds:“All chimneys and flue-ways should be cleaned and checked during the summer months to ensure they’re free from debris and in full working order before the heating season. A blocked or defective chimney can cause both chimney fires and carbon monoxide poisonings so it’s very important to employ a professional qualified Chimney Sweep such as those certified by NACS.”
Regular maintenance of your chimney will depend on the fuel you burn:
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