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Cheshire fire service warning to get your chimney swept before winter

Chimneys can become a danger to your house and your life

Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service is urging householders to ensure their chimney is safe(Image: UGC)

With this year’s summer not being quite as warm as we would have hoped, and the colder nights fast approaching, firefighters are reminding people with wood burners and solid fuel stoves to get their chimneys swept.

This advice is being given as part of Chimney Fire Safety Week 2017 which provides a timely reminder to make sure that your chimney is ready for the winter months ahead.

Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service is urging householders to ensure their chimney is safe and to have their chimney swept by a registered chimney sweep.

There were 102 chimney fires in Cheshire, Halton and Warrington from April 1 2015 and March 31 2016.

This year’s Chimney Fire Safety Week calls for homeowners to clean up their act and get their chimneys swept by a registered sweep to prevent chimney damage, and, in worse cases, house fires.

Here’s some safety advice:

• 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

Visit www.chimneyfiresafetyweek.co.uk for advice, tips and information on how to find your local registered chimney sweep.

Head of prevention at Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service Nick Evans said: “We’ve had a colder summer than expected and people have been lighting coal and solid fuel fires to keep their homes warm.

“To keep you and your family safe from fire you should make sure you have your chimney swept regularly, depending on what fuel you burn, before the colder months set in and you begin to use your fire again.

“If the worst should happen, working smoke alarms can give you the early warning, and a fire-plan can help you ensure your family’s escape in a fire – make sure you have at least one smoke alarm on every level of your home and test them weekly or, at the very least, monthly.

“And don’t keep this advice to yourself – pass it on. Is there anyone you know who may need your help in organising a sweep or testing their 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

Nick adds: “A stove or open fire can be an ideal and pleasant way to keep warm in the winter, but without proper maintenance a chimney can become dangerous. Latest statistics show that there are over 102 chimney fires in Cheshire, Halton and Warrington, but most of these are preventable.

“All chimneys and flues 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.”

For more information please visit www.cheshirefire.gov.uk.

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