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Safety reminder - Sweep your chimney!

With summer drawing to a close, Chimney Fire Safety Week (8th – 14th September) provided a timely reminder to make sure that your chimney is safe.

As part of this national Fire Kills campaign, Wiltshire Fire & Rescue Service is urging local people to make sure their chimney is swept by a registered chimney sweep before lighting the first fire of the winter.

Open fires are a warm, welcoming addition to the home but they do carry risks. If you have an open fire, you should:
• Always use a fire guard to protect against flying sparks from hot embers;
• Make sure embers are properly put out before you leave the property or go to bed; and
• Keep chimneys and flues clean and well maintained.

Group Manager Kathy Collis, from the community safety department, said: “With the colder winter months looming, people will begin to light fires and use their chimneys again. Most chimney fires can be prevented by ensuring that the chimney or flue is clear of debris. To keep you and your family safe from fire, you should make sure that your chimney is swept regularly – and always have working smoke alarms in your home.”

How regularly a chimney should be swept depends on the type of fuel being burned:
• Smokeless coals – At least once a year
• Wood – Up to four times a year
• Bituminous coal – Twice a year
• Oil – Once a year
• Gas – Once a year

GM Collis added: “In the last year, we have had to deal with over 170 chimney fires across Wiltshire and Swindon, and many of them could have been easily avoided. Blocked or defective chimney flues also carry the risk of leading to carbon monoxide poisoning, so it’s vital that you employ a professional and qualified chimney sweep to ensure that your home is safe.”

Wiltshire Fire & Rescue Service offers free home fire safety advice to householders – to see if you qualify for a visit, call 0800 389 7849 or visit

Posted by: RB on 18th September 2014