Make a clean sweep – Kent Fire and Rescue Service
As the nights start to draw in, firefighters are advising residents to ensure chimneys are swept before lighting an open fire or wood burning stove. A build up of soot and ash left over from last winter can lead to the chimney catching fire, presenting a real risk to your home and family.
In the last three years, Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) attended 824 chimney fires in Kent and Medway, many of which could have been easily avoided if the chimney had been swept.
KFRS Risk Reduction Manager Rob Sherwood said: “This is a busy time of year for certified chimney sweeps so the advice is to plan ahead and book up for your chimneys to be swept. It is also advisable to have chimneys and flues checked to ensure they are in good working order.
“Another vital safety measure is the ensure you fit working smoke alarms in your home to alert you and your family in the unfortunate event of fire and to give you the extra time you need to escape – and make sure you test yours regularly.”
Follow these simple steps to protect your home and your family from chimney fires:
• Have your chimney swept at least once a year – more frequently if you burn woo
• Chimneys and flue-ways 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
• Make sure the appliance receives enough air to allow the fuel to burn properly
• Only burn suitable fuels
• Do not overload the grate/appliance
• Maintain your appliance in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions
• Use a fire or spark guard to prevent accidental fires
• Inspect your chimney breast, particularly the roof space. Make sure that it is sound
and that the sparks or fumes cannot escape through cracks or broken bricks.
• Avoid storing items in the roof space close to your chimney
• Consider having a carbon monoxide detector fitted as an additional safeguard against
the build up of poisonous fumes
• Fit a smoke alarm on each floor of the building, check the batteries weekly and
change the batteries yearly
• For more information on fire safety please visit www.3breaths.info or call the
community safety team on 0800 923 7000.
To find a certified chimney sweep, or for more information on chimney fire safety please
visit the Institute of Chimney Sweeps website at www.instituteofchimneysweeps.com, the
National Association of Chimney Sweeps website at www.nacs.org.uk or the Guild of Master Sweeps website at www.guild-of-master-sweeps.co.uk