Lincolnshire fire crews in chimney sweep plea to residents

LINCOLNSHIRE fire fighters have urged homeowners to make sure their chimney is ready for winter now that summer is nearing its end.

Last year the county’s emergency crews attended almost 150 chiney fires - five of which develiped into full house fires.

Chimney Fire Safety Week is due to take place latest this month, and Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue has launched an appeal to the public to make sure their chimneys are safe in a bid to reduce the number of fire call outs.

They have teamed up with the National Association of Chimney Sweeps and HETAS to call for people to make sure that their chimney is swept by a registered chimney sweep.

Open fires and wood burners not only warm up a home, but also create a unique relaxing ambience.

And with the numbers of people using open fires and wood burners growing, Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue have provided some top tips for safer chimneys.

The fire crews suggest that you always use a fire guard to protect against flying sparks from hot embers, you ,ake sure embers are properly put out before you go to bed, and you keep chimneys and flues clean and well maintained.

Debbie Robinson, a deputy community fire safety manager, said: “With the colder, winter months looming, people will begin to start using open fires and their wood burners again.

“In order to keep you and your family safe from fire, you need to take necessary steps such as ensuring your chimney is swept regularly, depending upon what fuel you burn, and I would urge all householders to have a working smoke alarm in their home.

“Over the past year we have attended 146 fires which started in a chimney, five of which developed into house fires and many could have been prevented had suitable precautions been taken.

“On one occasion the property owner was alerted early to a fire by the smoke alarms that we had fitted only a few weeks earlier which allowed her to raise the alarm very quickly,” she added.

The service recommends that homeowners using smokeless coals should have their chimney and flues swept at least once a year. Wood burners should be checked/swept up to four times per 12 months, and bituminous coal twice per annum.

Oil and gas should be checked/swept once a year.

Martin P Glynn, the President of the National Association of Chimney Sweeps added: “All chimneys and flue-ways should be cleaned and checked during the summer months to ensure they’re free from debris and in full working order before the heating season.

“A blocked or defective chimney can cause both chimney fires and carbon monoxide poisonings so it’s very important to employ a professional qualified Chimney Sweep such as those certified by NACS.”

For further advice or a Free Home fire Safety check, contact Community Fire Safety on Lincoln 01522 582222 or email HFSC@lincoln.fire-uk.org.