Essex County Fire and Rescue Service

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Chimney Fire Safety Week, September 7-13

Make sure your chimney is clean and safe. That is the message from Essex County Fire and Rescue Service during Chimney Safety Week, September 7 to 13.

Real fires create a warm and homely atmosphere but bring with them extra risks both from fire and carbon monoxide poisoning, but by taking a few extra precautions people can enjoy the glow of a real fire and make sure that they and their family stay safe.

Divisional Officer Neil Fenwick said: “Now as we head into autumn many people in the coming weeks  will be lighting their fires for the first time in months, before they do that we recommend they carry out a few safety checks.

“First and foremost make sure that your chimney is clean and in good working order, that includes making sure that there are no cracks in the chimney and that it is clean of residue which could spark a fire, a blocked chimney can also cause a build-up of deadly carbon monoxide gas.”

Top tips to enjoy an open fire safely:

- Have the chimney swept at least once a year, or more frequently if you burn wood.
- Do not bank fires too high and remember to let them burn down well before you retire to bed.
- Use a fire or spark guard to prevent accidental fires and make sure that it has the kite mark or conforms to a relevant British/European safety standard.
- Do not place objects on or over the mantle-piece which may cause you to stand too close to the fire to reach or use them.
- Inspect your chimney regularly – particularly in the roof space – to ensure that it is sound and that sparks or fumes cannot escape through cracks or broken bricks.
- Avoid burning resinous woods as soot builds up quickly.
- Buy only suitable fuels.
- Do not overload the grate or appliance.
- Above all, ensure that you have a working smoke alarm fitted on each floor or your home.

DO Fenwick said: “I cannot overstate the importance of installing and regularly checking smoke alarms, they give you give you an early warning to a fire, allowing extra time for occupants in the home to escape.”

To arrange a free home fire safety visit call 0300 303 0088, or fill out the online form here

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