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Chimney Safety

With the night’s drawing in and it starting to feel Autumnal if you use an open fire or a wood burner, and you haven’t done so already, it’s time to get your chimney swept.

As part of the national “Fire Kills” campaign, Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service is urging householders to ensure their chimney is safe and to have their chimney swept by a registered chimney sweep.

Chimney fires accounted for over 5,000 incidents dealt with by fire and rescue services between April 2014 and March 2015.

The most common causes of chimney fires are:

•Improper appliance sizing

•Burning unseasoned wet wood

•Infrequent sweeping and cleaning

•Overnight burning or smouldering wood for long periods in wood stoves 

Tips to reduce the risk of chimney fire

•Chimneys must be swept on a regular basis this can be as much as three times in the burning season (winter) but at least once per season regardless of fuel type.

•All wood burned must have a moisture content of no more than 17 percent.

•It is important to purchase the correct size appliance for your room, an appliance which is too large will never be used hot enough to volatize all of the fuel within the wood and unburned fuel will pass up the chimney as smoke and condense within the flue as extremely flammable creosote.

A blocked or defective chimney can cause both chimney fires and carbon monoxide poisonings.

The National Association of Chimney Sweeps Click Here!

The fire service also advise that you ensure your home is fitted with smoke alarms, at least one on every level of your home and that they are tested weekly.  In addition, placing one in every room of your home where there is a fire risk, and linking all the alarms together.

A smoke alarm will give you an early warning and a fire plan can help you ensure your family's escape in a fire.

They also advise – Please don’t keep this advice to yourself – pass it on. Is there anyone you know who may need your help in organising a sweep or testing their alarms?

•    Test your smoke alarms regularly.

•    Change the battery if it starts to beep on a regular basis.

•    Never disconnect or take the batteries out of your alarms.

•    Do not try to replace the battery on a 10-year or long-lasting smoke alarm.

•    In a standard smoke alarm, the battery will need to be replaced every 12 months.

•    Do not fit an alarm in the bathroom, as steam may trigger the alarm.

•    Plan an escape route from your home in advance and run it through with your family. If a fire occurs you may have to get out in dark and difficult conditions.



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