Chimney Fire Safety Week raises awareness of safe chimney fire use and information about how to prevent a fire occurring, highlighting the importance of having chimneys swept regularly and only burning suitable fuel.
Chimney Fire Safety Week is held during September each year as the mornings get darker, the nights draw in and temperature begins to fall. It is this time of year that people with open fires and log burners start to fire up hearths and grates that may not have been used for several months. This is a time when it is vitally important to have the chimney swept to ensure it is clean and free from soot, leaves, birds’ nests and other debris. Carrying out the sweeping process will reduce the risk of a fire occurring or the build up of the poisonous gas, carbon monoxide, within the property.
In the past twelve months, NFRS have responded to 60 chimney fires county wide, this involved the response of a total of 120 fire engines to safely deal with the fires. The aim of Northumberland Council and NFRS is to make Northumberland a safer place to live and create a safer working environment for firefighters.
NFRS Chief Fire Officer Paul Hedley said: "NFRS and NCC have a long term aim of improving the wellbeing of residents in Northumberland and central to this is the prevention of fires and other emergencies, with the result of reducing death, injury and damage to property.
“NFRS offer free home safety advice and, where necessary, the fitting of free smoke alarms. It is also recommended that anyone with an open fire, woodburner or gas central heating system install a working carbon monoxide detector to their property to create a safer living environment. For any further advice contact your local fire station."
Councillor John Riddle, Chair of Northumberland Fire Authority, added: “Fire safety is of utmost importance and it is imperative to continually raise awareness about how to safely maintain and use fires within the home.
“Northumberland Council and NFRS are committed to relaying the safety messages of Chimney Fire Safety Week to all residents in the region to help prevent chimney fires from happening and ensuring maximum enjoyment from your open fire or log burner in the home.”
Key tips to help prevent chimney fires include:
- Ensure a fireguard is in front of the fire at all times.
- Spark guards can prevent serious property fires.
- If you have had a fire ensure you extinguish the flame before bed or leaving the house.
- Never use petrol or paraffin to light your fire.
- If you have a wood burner, always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations on fuel loading and air flow.
- If you plan to reopen an old fireplace, seek professional advice from a certified chimney sweep.
If you suspect that you have a fire in your chimney breast follow the three safety rules below:
1. Get yourself and others out of the property
2. Call the fire service out on 999 immediately
3. Stay out of the property until after the arrival of the fire service.
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