Monday, 15 December 2014

Safety warning following chimney fires

A safety warning is being issued to the public following a spate of chimney fires over the weekend.

East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service attended three chimney fires yesterday (14th December):

Firefighters were sent to a property in Woodside Way, Hailsham, yesterday afternoon at 3.43pm, due to a chimney on fire. The Service’s Aerial Ladder Platform gave firefighters access to the roof area, where they were able to tackle the fire with one hose reel jet.

Meanwhile, at 4.19pm two crews were mobilised to Brownbread Street, Ashburnham, where firefighters used a chimney kit to tackle the incident.

Again, at 5.13pm the same day a crew were sent to Hartington Road, Brighton, where firefighters used a chimney kit to tackle the fire.

These three incidents have prompted East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service to remind the public about the importance of safety measures which need to be adopted around the use of fires in the home.

Full details can be found on our community safety pages but it is important to remember the following to ensure your safety:


Chimney Fire Prevention Tips

  • Ensure your chimney is swept regularly.
  • Chimneys should be swept according to the type of fuel used:
    • Smokeless fuels - at least once a year.
    • Bitumous coal - at least twice a year .
    • Wood - quarterly when in use.
    • Oil -  once a year.
    • Gas - once a year (Any work on gas appliances requires a Gas Safe registered installer/engineer).
  • Keep chimneys and flues clean and well maintained.


Open fires

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
  • Ensure good quality fuel is used
  • Never interrupt the air supply by blocking air vents or air bricks


Precautions with open fires

  • Do not overfill a fire grate in case coals fall out.
  • Use a spark guard.
  • Do not place a mirror above a fire, people may stand to close.
  •  Do not position furniture too close to the fire.


How do I know when I have a chimney fire

  • A loud roaring noise, which occurs as massive amounts of air are sucked through the appliance or fireplace opening and used to oxidize the combustible fuels within the system.
  • Sparks and flames seen shooting from the chimney top, which can be firework like in appearance.
  • 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 noticeable in adjoining rooms or the loft space.
  • The heating up of the chimney breast or flue pipe, in the same room as the appliance and also other rooms that the flue passes through.


What to do in the event of a chimney fire

  • Put the spark guard on and call 999. 
  • REMEMBER - If it is left unattended, a chimney fire can spread into the rest of the house.
  • Some people fear that they will be charged for the Fire Service to attend a chimney fire - this is not true.

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