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Chimney fires

GFRS attend around 90 chimney fires per year some of these result in serious damage to the property.

If you have a chimney in your home make sure it is clean and safe for use. Poorly maintained chimneys, hearths and fireplaces can increase the risk of fire breaking out in your home.

Chimney fires are usually started when high temperatures or flames from a very hot fire extend into the appliance outlet or flue and the ignition of the combustible deposits within, occurs.

But there are steps you can take to keep your home safe:

  • Ensure your chimney is traditionally swept corresponding to the list below:-

Smokeless coals - at least once a year

Wood - at least twice a year

Bituminous coal - twice a year

Oil - once a year

Gas - once a year

  • Wood should be dry and well seasoned this usually takes about two years. A well seasoned log has drying-out splits in the ends. Never use wet or newly-felled wood as this can cause tar or creosote to form in the wood burner and chimney.
  • Wood & Briquettes with low moisture content give off more heat and are better value for money. 
  • Make sure that your fire is well ventilated and enough air is coming in to the room. 
  • Have your chimney flue inspected regularly to ensure that it is in good condition. 
  • If the wood burner has been used slowly (overnight, for instance), this should be followed by a period of faster burning to dry out any creosote and to warm up the chimney again.
  • Make sure embers are under control and extinguished properly before you go out or go to bed.
  • Be careful when using open fires to keep warm. Always use an appropriate fireguard; a spark guard to protect against flying sparks from hot embers and a nursery guard to stop children or vulnerable people touching the fire.
  • Keep flammable materials and furniture at least 2m from the fire.
  • Check your smoke alarm is working.

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