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Chimney Fire Safety Week 2019

30/08/2019 00:00
Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service are offering chimney fire safety advice as part of the National Chimney Fire Safety Week 2019. 

The campaign runs from 2nd – 8th September with the aim to provide information and advice to reduce the number of chimney fire incidents. 

Chimney fires are commonly started due to a build of soot and can cause extensive damage to properties and in some cases a danger to life.  One of the main causes of Carbon Monoxide poisoning is blocked or partially blocked chimneys, so they may not catch fire they still could pose a risk.  Please visit our website for more information on Carbon Monoxide

There is also more information on the Gas Safe charity website 

Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service cannot convey strongly enough the potential dangers of chimney fires so please follow the simple advice below to help reduce any potential dangers in your home.  

Sweep the chimney before use if you haven’t used it for some time. 
Ensure a fireguard is in front of the fire at all times
NEVER use petrol or paraffin to light your fire.

How often should you clean your chimney?

Chimney fires have the potential to cause serious damage to your property so ensure your chimney is cleaned in accordance with this guidance from the National Association of Chimney Sweeps:-

Solid Fuel Appliances - once a year for smokeless fuel and twice a year for coal
Wood Burning Appliances - every three months when in use
Gas Appliances - once a year if designed for sweeping
Oil Fired Appliances - once a year

Do not be tempted to clean your chimney with a domestic vacuum cleaner, leave it to a proper chimney sweep. Have your flue inspected regularly to prevent fire breaking out of the chimney in a living space, or in the loft.

HETAS is the national organisation working for consumer safety and the wider public interest in safe, efficient and environmentally responsible use of biomass and other solid fuels. They recommend that chimney sweeping is best carried out by a HETAS Approved Chimney Sweep belonging to one of the following trade associations.

Association of Professional and Independent Chimney Sweeps (APICS)
Guild of Master Chimney Sweeps
National Association of Chimney Sweep (NACS)
Sweep Safe

What should you do if you have a chimney fire?

Raise the alarm in the house to let others know
Dial 999 and ask for the Fire Service – we treat chimney fires like any fire in the home
If you have a conventional open fire, extinguish the fire by gently splashing water onto the open fire
If you have a solid fuel appliance, close down the ventilation as much as possible
Move furniture and rugs away from the fireplace and remove any nearby ornaments
Place a fire guard or spark guard in front of the fire
Feel the chimney breast in other rooms for signs of heat
If a wall is becoming hot, move furniture away

Ensure that access to your attic or roof space is available for the Fire Service as they will want to thoroughly check this area for signs of possible fire spread.

Without proper maintenance, any flue from a fire or stove can cause a dangerous build-up of carbon monoxide gas.

A carbon monoxide detector will help protect you from this risk.

For further help and guidance please see our 'Chimney Fire Safety Advice' leaflet