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Residents urged to follow chimney and fire safety advice as cold weather continues

March 1 2018
Make sure chimneys are swept

Make sure chimneys are swept

Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service is reminding residents to keep warm safely as Storm Emma brings more cold weather to the county.

“With temperatures set to stay very low over coming days we’re reminding residents to take care when using open fires, log burners and heaters in their homes."

Dave Steele, Station Manager

The Service has received reports of chimney fires and carbon monoxide alarm activations, as more people are using log burners and open fires to heat their homes during the cold spell.

At around 6.45pm, on Wednesday February 28, crews from Stone responded to a report of a chimney fire in Lichfield Road. Thankfully the log burner fire was safely extinguished and firefighters checked the chimney to make sure there were no hotspots.

A Newcastle-under-Lyme resident also suffered a chimney fire on Tuesday February 27. Crews were called to the home in Heathcote Road just after 5.25pm and found the chimney was well alight. Firefighters from Longton used the Aerial Ladder Platform and a hose reel jet to extinguish the fire from above.

Firefighters from Biddulph, Sandyford, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Kidsgrove and Burslem also attended. Thankfully no one was injured but the home suffered smoke and water damage, crews also had to open access to the chimney from a first floor bedroom to extinguish hotspots within the chimney stack.

Dave Steele, Station Manager, said: “With temperatures set to stay very low over coming days we’re reminding residents to take care when using open fires, log burners and heaters in their homes.

“We know the cold greatly increases the risk to elderly residents so please take a minute to check on any older relatives, friends and neighbours to make sure they’re okay and keeping warm safely.

“To keep you and your family safe from fire it is absolutely essential that you check that your chimney is in good working order before using it. Chimneys need to be swept on a regular basis by a qualified sweep such as those certified by National Association of Chimney Sweeps (NACS). A blocked or defective chimney can cause both chimney fires and carbon monoxide poisoning.

“Equally portable heaters can be a deadly fire risk if flammable items are left near them or they are knocked over, make sure they are placed in a suitable position where they won’t pose a tripping hazard.

“Each level of your home should have one working smoke alarm and a carbon monoxide alarm, and these should be tested weekly.”

Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service encourage those with log burners or open fires to follow the below safety advice:

  • Make sure the fire is properly out before going to bed or leaving the house
  • Ensure good quality fuel is used
  • Avoid storing fuel next to your fire
  • Be careful when using open fires to keep warm. Make sure you always use a fire guard to protect against flying sparks from hot embers
  • Never interrupt the air supply by blocking air vents or air bricks
  • Avoid putting an appliance on slumber (unless it has been tested as safe to do so). Slumber mode is when an appliance is purposely set at a low or minimum output normally for overnight burning to be revived in the morning without the need for relighting.
  • Chimneys that have been lined still require regular sweeping
  • If you use smokeless fuel, sweep your chimney at least once a year
  • If you use bituminous coal, sweep your chimney at least twice a year
  • If you use wood, sweep your chimney quarterly when in use
  • If you use oil, sweep your chimney once a year
  • If you use gas, have your chimney swept by a Gas Safe registered installer/engineer once a year

More tips and advice on winter safety can be found on the Service’s website here.