Next week is Chimney Fire Safety Week. Beginning on Monday 2nd September and running through Sunday 8th September 2019, Chimney Fire Safety Week is celebrating its 11th year this September. Here is everything you need to know about the week ahead of the upcoming event.
Raising awareness of chimney safety
First introduced in 2009, Chimney Fire Safety Week was created to raise awareness of safe chimney use across the country. The annual event was started by HETAS Insurance Services, a national organisation working for consumer safety, and has been taking place every September ever since the first Chimney Fire Safety Week in 2009.
The main goal of Chimney Fire Safety Week is to educate the wider public on all aspects of chimney safety so that the number of chimney fires can be reduced. This includes making homeowners aware of the importance of having their chimneys swept regularly and why they need to keep them clean. It also covers information that many homeowners might not know, such as how and why you need to use the appropriate quality fuel.
Chimney fires in the UK
Over recent years, there has been a reduction in chimney fires nationwide. That doesn’t mean the problem no longer exists, though. There are still thousands of avoidable chimney fires affecting properties across the country every year, with over 40% of them taking place between January and March. Last year alone, more than 200 people lost their lives because of fires in their homes.
Chimney Fire Safety Week aims to educate the public well ahead of the peak months for chimney fires, so homeowners can make sure they take the necessary measures to help prevent a fire in their homes.
How to prevent a chimney fire
We cannot eliminate the risk of a fire breaking out completely, however, there are a number of precautions you can take to reduce the risk of a chimney fire in your home. These include ensuring that you clean and maintain your chimneys, flues and appliances, stay vigilant when lighting an open fire and use a fireguard to protect your home from flying sparks and embers. Always ensure that the fire is fully extinguished before you leave the room or go to bed and avoid slumbering an appliance.
If you have a chimney in your house, you should also ensure it is swept regularly. How often you need to have your chimney swept will depend on the type of fuel you use. For oil, gas and smokeless fuels, you will need to sweep your chimney at least once a year. If using bituminous coal, you should get your chimney swept at least twice a year. For wood fires, this number increases to four times per year.
As well as taking specific chimney-related precautions, you should also follow general guidance for preventing a fire in the home. Make sure you have a smoke alarm and carbon monoxide alarm fitted and get them tested regularly and please feel free to share this warning to friends and family.