Chimney Fire Safety Week 2018
Chimney Fire Safety Week starts today and takes place nationwide until September 9th.
Chimney Fire Safety Week was established in 2009 and aims to reduce incidents involving chimney fires while raising awareness of safe chimney use. This includes the importance of ensuring that chimneys are swept regularly, kept clean and appropriate quality fuel is used.
Chimneys should be swept according to the type of fuel they consume:
Smokeless fuels – at least once a year
Bituminous coals – at least twice a year
Wood – quarterly when in use
Oil – once a year
Gas – once a year (be sure to refer to the Gas Safe Register).
Consider the following:
- Keep chimneys, flues and appliances clean and well-maintained
- 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
- Ensure your fire is extinguished before going to bed or leaving the house
- Never interrupt the air supply by blocking air vents or air bricks
- Avoid slumbering an appliance (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
- Use the appropriate fuel for your appliance; some appliances will be suitable for wood only, some are multi-fuel. Be sure to check your appliance instructions to be sure
- Never store fuel next to the appliance itself
- When burning logs, look for a fuel that is 20 per cent moisture content or lower and source your fuel from an accredited supplier
- Get a carbon monoxide alarm fitted in accordance with Building Regulations and have it tested regularly
- In 2017, more than 200 people died in fires in the home. You’re at least four times more likely to die in a fire in the home if there’s no working smoke alarm.
Responsibilities for the maintenance of chimneys:
Renters and owners
Any person that uses flue appliances has a responsibility to maintain the appliance and flue. It is often stated that people should take reasonable care within the terms of household insurance policies and in the instance of thatched properties, the frequency of sweeping required is often specified by the insurer.
Landlords have a duty of care to their tenants and are required to repair and keep in working order, any room heater and water heating equipment.
After a chimney fire
After a chimney fire has occurred, it must be inspected thoroughly as soon as possible by a certified sweep before the chimney is used again. This is to ascertain if the rapid and dramatic changes of temperature, which would have occurred within the chimney, have caused any damage and also to determine the need for any remedial measures. It is imperative that the chimney is not used prior to inspection.