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Get sweeping for chimney fire safety week

brick wall  with chimney fire safety week logo, hetas logo and woodsure logo

A 138% increase in the number of chimney fires is prompting Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service to call on people to get their chimney swept during Chimney Fire Safety Week (30 August – 5 September 2021).

Between April and June this year Firefighters attended 11 chimney fires, a 138% increase on the number of chimney fires attended in the same period in 2020 underlining the importance of having your chimney cleaned regularly.

Chimney fires happen when soot or creosote deposits in the chimney catch light due to high temperatures or flames from a very hot fire extend into the outlet. As a result, massive radiant heat is emitted through the chimney walls, meaning a devastating house fire can start quickly.

Station Manager Julia Smith said: “Sweeping your chimney removes deposits which have built up due to the burning of carbon-based fuels, such as coal, wood, oil and gas. It makes sure there is a clear and safe passage for gases caused by the burning process, which are combustible, making the risk of the chimney catching fire less.

“However, you should always make sure you have a working smoke alarm on each level of your home, as they could save your life if a fire was to occur by giving you time to Get Out, Stay Out, and call 999.”

To reduce the risk of a chimney fire, please follow our simple advice:

  • Have your chimney swept on a regular basis
  • Make sure all wood burnt has a moisture content below 17 per cent, by buying seasoned wood from reputable suppliers
  • Choose the correct size appliance for your room. One which is too large will never burn all of the fuel contained in the wood. This unburned fuel will pass up the chimney as smoke and condense as extremely flammable creosote

If you have a wood burner, always follow the manufacturer's recommendations on fuel loading and air flow.