With cooler and darker nights fast approaching, Chimney Fire Safety Week (September 5-11) provides a timely reminder to make sure your chimney is ready for the winter months.
There were more than 5,000 chimney fires across England during 2014/15, with 106 of those in West Yorkshire.
This year’s Chimney Fire Safety Week, which is being organised by Fire Kills and HETAS (Heating Equipment
Testing and Approvals Scheme), calls for homeowners to clean up their act and get their chimneys swept by a
registered sweep to prevent chimney damage or, even worse, a house fire.
Ian Bitcon, area manager for fire safety, said: “A stove or open fire can be a pleasant way to keep warm in the winter, but without proper maintenance a chimney can become dangerous.
“All chimneys and flues should be cleaned and checked during the summer months to ensure they are 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 poisoning, so it’s essential to employ a professional, qualified chimney sweep.”
West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service offers the following advice:
l Always use a fire guard to protect against flying sparks from hot embers.
l Make sure embers are properly put out before you go to bed.
l Keep chimneys and flues clean and well maintained.
Different types of chimney materials need to be swept at different rates to prevent the risk of chimney damage or fires.
Smokeless coals should be swept at least once a year, wood up to four times a year, a bituminous coal chimney should be swept twice a year and oil and gas chimneys should each be swept once a year.
For more information on Chimney Fire Safety Week, visit www.westyorksfire.gov.uk, www.gov.uk/firekills, or to find a certified chimney sweep visit www.hetas.co.uk.