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Chimney Fire Safety Week 2023

Chimney Fire Safety Week has been taking place across the 4th-8th of September. Coordinated by HETAS and the team from Fire Kills, CFSW2023 aims to raise awareness of chimney fires and the importance of regular chimney sweeps and stove services. We are proud to be supporting CFSW2023 this year and will be sharing some helpful tips on how to stay safe this winter season.

Did you know that most chimney fires happen between January-March?

Although chimney fires only represent 1.5% of the total fires for 2022/2023 in England, it is a scary and possibly life threatening event for those who have experienced it. This is why Chimney Fire Safety Week is an important time to check over your stove and chimney before the colder months arrive.

Now is the perfect time to check if your carbon monoxide alarm is working, and have your chimney swept and stove serviced. This is essential maintenance and can help prevent a chimney fire this winter.

HETAS Chimney Fire Safety Week

5 Top Tips to Avoid a Chimney Fire

  1. Annual stove service and chimney sweep

  2. Use Ready to Burn fuels.

  3. Store fuel away from your stove.

  4. Never leave a fire unattended.

  5. Avoid slumbering your stove.

Annual stove service and chimney sweep:

Each year your stove should be checked and swept by a registered chimney sweep (e.g. HETAS registered). The chimney sweep will be able to inspect your chimney and liner and warn you of any existing damage. They will carefully sweep your chimney to remove any debris and tar build up which, if left, will overtime increase your risk of a chimney fire. They will also be able to check over your stove and replace any parts that are showing signs of wear.

We are pleased to offer a chimney sweep and service package across Surrey and Sussex. Click here to find out more.

Use Ready to Burn fuels:

Always look out for the Ready to Burn label when purchasing wood or smokeless fuel for your stove. This means that the fuel has met the HETAS and DEFRA standards for burning and will not release excessive pollutants when burning. Ready to Burn wood will have a moisture content of 20% or less at the point of purchase. Never use damp fuel. Burning damp fuel increases the amount of smoke and other gases in your chimney. You can easily test the moisture content of purchased wood, or wood you have been seasoning, with a moisture meter.

Store fuel away from your fire:

Dry wood is easily combustible, making it a great fuel for your burner. However, kept too close to your wood burner it can become a serious fire hazard. Always keep your wood or smokeless fuel the recommended distance away from your stove for combustibles. This information can be found on your stove manufacturers website or by contacting the company who installed the burner. Look out for 'distance to combustibles' online or in manufacturer brochures.

Never leave your stove unattended:

Wood burners should not be left to burn while you are out of the house or asleep. There should be a household member in the room or nearby the stove at all times when it is burning so that you are able to deal with any fire-related incidents that may arise. This includes flammable items such as curtains, sofas, blankets or your basket of fuel catching alight as it is too close to the stove. Never leave the stove burning when you are not able to monitor it and call the emergency services if needed, e.g. when you are asleep.

Avoid slumbering your stove:

It is important to not let your stove slumber for long periods of time. This form of burning reduces the flow of fresh air into the stove and therefore increases the amount of carbon monoxide and other particulates being released into your chimney. Never leave the stove doors open when the fire is dying as this allows carbon monoxide and other particulates to fill your home.

Please note: slumbering your stove or burning wet wood and smokey fuels all contribute to the build of debris and tar in your chimney and increase your risk of a chimney fire.

Brick house with chimney
Get your chimney sweep and stove serviced annually

With thanks to HETAS and national fire and rescue services for the resources they have produced for Chimney Fire Safety Week 2023.


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