Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service is urging local people to take care with open fires in the home during this week’s cold snap.
Open fires are a warm, welcoming addition to the home, but they do carry risks. If you have an open fire, you should:
• Always use a fire guard to protect against flying sparks from hot embers;
• Make sure that embers are properly put out before you leave the property or go to bed; and
• Keep chimneys and flues clean and well maintained.
Station Manager Graham Kewley said: “With the colder weather this week, people will want to light fires and use their chimneys again. Every year, firefighters are called to chimney fires during the Spring months caused by sparks igniting bird nesting material in flues and chimney pots. To keep your home safe from fire, you should make sure that your chimney is swept regularly.”
He added: “Chimneys should be swept twice a year as a minimum to remove accumulated soot and tar, as well as making sure that the chimney is clear of debris such as nesting material. With the current restrictions in place, it may be difficult to find a chimney sweep, so we are advising residents to think twice before lighting fires.”
Blocked or defective chimney flues also carry the risk of leading to carbon monoxide poisoning so, as well as getting chimneys swept, people are encouraged to fit smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors in their homes.
Further information on keeping your chimney safe, and on the Safe & Well advice available from Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service, can be found at www.dwfire.org.uk/safety