With England in lockdown once again and the darker and colder nights upon us many of us are taking the opportunity to pop on a boxset and, for those lucky enough, to snuggle infront of a roaring fire.
Typically the National Fire Chief’s Council (NFCC) promote Chimney Fire Safety week during September but as dates and months have gone out the window this year we thought it was a good time to remind people to make sure their chimneys are swept and clean and they are only burning correct products.
With a lot of home renovations been carried out this year in the first lockdown a wood burning stove may have been installed or even installed by yourself. LFRS recommend getting your chimney swept annually which is still permitted despite lockdown due to it being a necessity and reduces fires breaking out. There are also some other safety precautions to take which are ensuring you have a working smoke alarm in your property and it is also sensible to fit a carbon monoxide alarm too due to these kinds of fires needing appropriate ventilation.
It is important not to burn household waste and instead use clean dry logs that are stored not to close to the fire. Please do use a fire guard especially if you live in a household with children and pets. And whilst it might be handy to dry clothes infront of the fire, or feels cosy to stand next to it, getting too close could cause ignition from radiating heat or ‘jumping’ embers.
Watch Manager, Neil Mitchell, from Chorley Fire Station said: I would estimate we go to about 12 chimney fires in the winter period which have been caused by lack of regular chimney sweeping even if burning appropriate materials like coal or wood, this issue can be made considerably worse if burning inappropriate composite materials. We also attend about six fires related to open fires which spread due to a fault in either the structure of the chimney stack or the fire itself for example an incorrectly installed wood burner.”
Whilst pubs and restaurants sadly are not open at this time, it is important to bear in mind that they are not exempt from fires and regular chimney sweeps at commercial properties is equally as important. Take the opportunity whilst you are closed to get it swept ready for when lockdown is lifted and you may be able to welcome people into your establishment in time for Christmas.
It is important that people use an approved chimney sweep and The National Association of Chimney Sweeps is a helpful website for finding local chimney sweeps. The National Association of Chimney Sweeps have confirmed that their members are permitted to enter people’s homes to carry out this vital safety maintenance providing they and customers wear appropriate PPE and maintain social distancing. They are also undertaking extra precautions such as ventilating the room they are working in, new dust sheets for each job they attend and sanitizing fire surrounds once they have completed the sweep. Here they share their “Heat Your Home Safely” leaflet.
Read our dedicated Chimney Fire Safety page here.