Chimney fire safety

Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service firefighters attend numerous chimney fires every year. By having regular inspections and cleaning, these fires can be prevented.

Chimney cleaning guidance

A blocked or defective chimney can cause carbon monoxide poisoning from gas or solid wood fires.

For safety, we strongly recommend that chimneys are cleaned regularly and in line with the below guidelines:

  • Wood - Quarterly when in use
  • Smokeless fuels - at least once a year
  • Bitumous Coal - at least twice a year
  • Oil - at least twice a year
  • Gas - at least twice a year
  • Biomass - at least once a year

The best times to have your chimney swept are just before the start of the heating season and after any prolonged period of shut-down.

As carbon monoxide is odourless, always have a carbon monoxide alarm in the same room as the fire to alert you to any issues.

Chimney fire safety top tips

If you’re planning to use a real fire to stay warm in the cooler months, take a look at our advice to enjoy it safely:

  • To avoid accidental ignition, store wood, and other fuel away from the fire or stove.
  • If you’re burning wood, make sure that it’s completely dried out.
  • Always use a fire guard to protect against flying sparks from hot embers.
  • Never use petrol or paraffin to light your fire.
  • Always leave matches and lighters out of reach of children- consider buying child resistant lighters and match boxes to reduce the risk.
  • Ensure that you choose the correct size appliance for your room (seek advice for this) and always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations on fuel loading and air flow if you have a stove.
  • Always ensure good quality fuel is used- more information about how to buy the correct fuel can be found on the HETAS website.

For more information about chimney fire safety visit the website for the National Association of Chimney Sweeps.