Keep your chimney swept to avoid fires, firefighters warn

AS THE winter draws in, East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service is reminding residents to get their chimneys swept to avoid fires.

A spokesperson for ESFRS said: “It is currently Chimney Fire Safety Week (9-15 September 2013) and anyone planning to use open fires in their homes or properties need to take extra care.

“If a chimney fire is left unattended, it can spread into the rest of the property but there are some easy ways to reduce the chances of your chimney catching alight.”

* Check chimneys and flues on a regular basis and ensure they are clean and well maintained.

* Fireguards protect against flying sparks from hot embers and can prevent clothing catching alight.

* Always ensure the fire is extinguished before going to bed or leaving the house.

* Check air vents and air bricks are clear of blockages. Never do anything which will stop or interrupt the air supply.

* Keep furniture a safe distance away. Do not sit too close as clothing could catch alight.

* Always use a good quality fuel.

Chimneys should be swept according to the type of fuel used.

There are some signs you can look out for if you think you have a chimney fire:

* A loud roaring noise.

* Sparks and flames shooting from the chimney top.

* A glowing or shimmering appliance outlet or connector.

* Vibrating appliance, outlet or connector.

* Flames visible through any tiny cracks in the outlet or connector.

* Smoke and odours in adjoining rooms or loft space.

* The heating up of the chimney breast or flue pipe, in the same room as the appliance and other rooms the flue passes through.

If you do have a fire, get out of the building, stay out and call 999.