Chimney warning for Sidmouth households

WITH summer drawing to a close and cooler days arriving, Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service remind you to make your chimneys safe and secure as possible.

WITH summer drawing to a close and cooler days arriving, Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service remind you to make your chimneys safe and secure as possible. The Chimney Fire Safety Week (21st - 27th September) also provides a timely reminder to make sure that your chimney is ready for the coming winter months ahead.

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service, the National Association of Chimney Sweeps and The Guild of Master Sweeps have joined forces to urge householders to ensure their chimney is safe and to have their chimney swept regularly by a registered chimney sweep.

Open fires and wood burning stoves are growing in popularity as they not only warm up a home, but create a unique and relaxing ambience within any room. This is all the more reason to ensure they are safe and clean.

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service have provided some top tips for safer chimneys:


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* Always use a fire guard to protect against flying sparks from hot embers

* Make sure embers are properly put out before you go to bed

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* Keep chimneys and flues clean and well maintained

* Bird nests, cobwebs and other blockages within chimney to be removed

* Consider having a carbon monoxide detector fitted as an additional safeguard against the build up of poisonous fumes.

Area Manager for Community Safety, Nick Manning, explains: "With the colder, winter months looming, people will begin to start using open fires and their chimneys again. 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, depending upon what fuel you burn and I would urge all householders to have a working smoke alarm in their home."

The sweeping frequencies below are for guidance. Frequency will depend on a number of factors including: Type of fuel, appliance used, duration of use, moisture content of wood fuel, type of chimney.

Smokeless coalsAt least once a yearWoodUp to four times a yearBituminous coalTwice a yearOilOnce a yearGasOnce a year

Chimneys need to allow free passage of dangerous combustion gasses, so regular cleaning will remove soot and creosote, helping prevent dangerous chimney fires, as well as remove cobwebs, bird nests and other blockages.

Nick Manning adds: "Latest statistics show that there are approximately 6,000 chimney fires a year in England, but most chimney fires are preventable."

Martin P Glynn, the President of the National Association of Chimney Sweeps adds: "To heat your home safely, chimney sweeping is essential to prevent the horrors of chimney fires, which can destroy homes and can be fatal."

Bob Russell from The Guild of Master Sweeps, adds: "Blocked and inefficient flues can kill - a clean chimney is a happy chimney.

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