Avoiding chimney fires

August 15, 2014 6:27 am

According to something I read recently, there are approximately 25 million domestic properties in the UK, and of these 60,000 are thatched houses or cottages. But some may be surprised to learn that the risk of fire in a thatched property is actually only half of that for a building with a conventional roof. That makes me wonder whether that’s because people living under thatch are far more careful about fire safety.

The most common cause of a blaze in a thatched property is a chimney fire, so this has reminded me that, with autumn approaching, it’s now a good time to think about chimney sweeping. This should be done quarterly for wood or coal and yearly for other fuel.

But there’s more to chimney safety than just sweeping, and the Fire & Rescue Service has the following five points of useful advice:

  • Chimneys should be lined and swept properly by a professional
  • Chimneys should always be swept if you haven’t used them for some time.
  • Extinguish your fire before going to bed or leaving the house.
  • Never use flammable liquids, burn paper or rubbish, or overload with fuel.

Always burn well-seasoned or kiln-dried wood.