Chimney Fire Safety
Most chimney fires are preventable. Regular inspection and cleaning of chimney flues will help prevent fires within chimneys.
Some simple tips to greatly reduce your chances of having a fire in your chimney:
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
Sparkguard can prevent a serious property fire
Extinguish the fire before going to bed or leaving the house
NEVER use petrol or paraffin to light your fire.
How often should I clean my 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)
What should I do if I 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 maintainance, 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.