Safety concerns over chimney fires
An urgent appeal is being made by
Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS), after receiving a high volume
of call-outs to chimney fires over the weekend.
As temperatures drop, more people
are turning to alternative ways to heat their homes, but chimneys
have the potential to cause further damage if they are not
maintained and inspected properly.
Safety officers at KFRS are calling
on owners of properties with open fires to ensure their chimneys
are properly swept before use.
Since Friday, crews have attended
to seven chimney fires across Kent, including one in North Street,
Ashford at 5.23pm on Friday.
Two vehicles from Ashford fire
station, one fitted with a ‘cherry picker’ arm for use at height,
attended the scene for almost one hour.
Stuart Skilton, head of community safety at KFRS, said:
"These incidents have the potential to do a lot of damage to your
"It can also put your family
at risk if it spreads, as just three breaths of toxic smoke from a
house fire can be deadly.
"With some simple maintenance, open
fires and wood-burning stoves can provide a cosy setting for winter
celebrations – but make sure you follow our safety advice.
"Please don’t let fire ruin your
To find a certified chimney sweep
visit the Institute of Chimney Sweeps website here
Kent Fire and Rescue Service offer
free safety advice call 0800 923 7000 or click here for further information.
Follow these simple steps to
protect your home and your family from chimney fires:
Have your chimney swept at
least once a year – more frequently if you burn wood
Make sure the appliance
receives enough air to allow the fuel to burn properly
Only burn suitable
Do not overload the
Maintain your appliance in
accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions
Use a fire or spark guard to
prevent accidental fires
Inspect your chimney breast,
particularly the roof space. Make sure that it is sound and that
the sparks or fumes cannot escape through cracks or broken
Avoid storing items in the
roof space close to your chimney
Consider having a carbon
monoxide detector fitted as an additional safeguard against the
build up of poisonous fumes.
Make sure you fit, and
regularly test, a smoke alarm. It is the single most important
piece of safety equipment in any home.
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