Sweeping to safety

17 November 2010

Following a fire at a home in Desborough last weekend, Northamptonshire County Council’s fire and rescue service is reminding residents to make sure their chimneys are safe ahead of winter.

With the winter months approaching, the fire and rescue service has joined forces with the National Association of Chimney Sweeps and the Guild of Master Sweeps to make sure their has been swept by a registered chimney sweep before lighting a fire.

The frequency a chimney should be swept depends on the type of fuel that is used. If it has not be used for a while, for example during the summer, a chimney should always be swept before it is used again.

Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service give the following chimney safety advice:

  • 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 or go out
  • Keep chimneys and flues clean and well maintained
  • Have your chimney swept on a regular basis, the frequency will depend upon the fuel that is used
  • Chimneys that use smokeless coal, oil or gas should be swept at least once a year
  • Those that use bituminous coal should be swept at least twice a year
  • Wood-fuelled chimneys at least four times a year.

Cara Payne, Community Fire Safety Supervisor said “With the winter months looming, people will begin to start using open fires and chimneys again. In order to keep you and your family safe from fire, you should follow our safety advice and ensure your chimney is swept regularly according to the fuel you use.

“Latest statistics show there are around 6,000 chimney fires a year in England, but many of them could be prevented.”

Martin P Glynn, the President of the National Association of Chimney Sweeps said “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, said “Blocked and inefficient flues can kill – a clean chimney is a happy chimney.”

Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service recommend all residents should have working smoke alarms in their home, if a fire does occur it will alert you early on and give you valuable seconds to evacuate safely.

Additional information:

For more information on fire safety please visit www.direct.gov.uk/firekills or contact Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service by calling 01604 797000.

To find a certified Chimney Sweep, or for more information on chimney fire safety, please visit www.guild-of-master-sweeps.co.uk or www.nacs.org.uk

The Guild of Master Sweeps is a professional organisation working closely with European colleagues as a member of the European Federation of Chimney Sweeps (ESCHFOE), to raise standards in the industry and promote customer awareness around the dangers associated with burning carbon based fuels.

The National Association of Chimney Sweeps is the national trade body for professional Chimney Sweeps in the UK and is also a full member of ESCHFOE. NACS is dedicated to consumer chimney safety.

By working in partnership with the Fire Kills campaign, both The Guild and NACS are able to raise awareness of fire safety issues specific to chimneys and open fires. By providing the necessary information and advice, we will be able to ensure that householders know the steps to take to make their chimneys as fire safe as possible.


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