Avoid chimney fires warns fire service

PUBLISHED: 22:28 28 October 2009 | UPDATED: 10:51 18 June 2010

AS temperatures drop, householders are being advised to have chimneys swept now to avoid the risk of chimney fires when home fires are lit.

AS temperatures drop, householders are being advised to have chimneys swept now to avoid the risk of chimney fires when home fires are lit.

With the current recession, more people are turning to open fires and wood burners to help cut the rising costs of gas, electricity and oil.

Figures released by Devon and Somerset Fire & Rescue Service show that last winter there was a 47 percent rise in chimney fires from the previous year, from 274 to 328.

Nick Manning, the service's area manager for community safety said: "In order to keep you and your family safe from fire, you need to take necessary steps, such as ensuring your chimney is swept regularly...and I would urge all householders to have a working smoke alarm in their home."

Chimneys should be free of soot and other blockages like cobwebs and bird nests.

Coal, oil and gas chimneys should be cleaned once a year, while wood burners should be cleaned up to four times a year.

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