Nationwide week of action calling for chimneys to be swept | Knutsford Times

Nationwide week of action calling for chimneys to be swept

By on September 2, 2019

Cheshire firefighters are urging homeowners with coal fires and wood burners in their homes to think now and get their chimney swept.

This advice coincides with Chimney Fire Safety Week 2019 (2-8 September) which is aimed to raise awareness of safe chimney use, including the importance of ensuring that chimneys are swept regularly.

The nationwide week was introduced in 2009 by Fire Kills and is celebrating its 10th year. As part of the week Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service is urging householders to ensure their chimney is safe and to have their chimney swept by a registered chimney sweep.

Here’s some safety advice that firefighters would like people to remember:

  • Always use a fire guard to protect against flying sparks from hot embers
  • Make sure embers are properly put out before you go to bed
  • Keep chimneys and flues clean and well maintained

Nick Evans, Head of Prevention at Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service, explains: “Even a small chimney fire can cause significant damage and disruption to a home.

“To keep yourself and your family safe from fire you should take care to have your chimney swept regularly, depending upon what fuel you burn, and only burn well-seasoned dry firewood to help prevent a build-up of deposits inside the chimney.  If the worst should happen, a smoke alarm can give you the extra time you need to escape in a house fire – make sure you test yours regularly. Also think about a fire escape plan for your family to use and ensure they know what to do in the event of a fire.”

Chimneys should be swept according to the type of fuel being used:

  • Smokeless Fuels – at least once a year
  • Bituminous Coal – at least twice a year
  • Wood – quarterly when in use
  • Oil – once a year
  • Gas – once a year (refer to Gas Safe Register)

An open fire is ideal to keep warm in the winter, but without proper maintenance a chimney can become dangerous. Other advice includes:

  • 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 the 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

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About Lucy Thorpe

Lucy Thorpe is a freelance journalist who writes for the Knutsford Times - covering stories and news in and around Cheshire and Greater Manchester. If you've got a story to share, or would like to speak to Lucy, please email

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