WITH colder nights fast approaching, Cheshire firefighters are reminding people with wood burners and solid fuel stoves to get their chimneys swept.

This advice is being given as part of Chimney Fire Safety Week which provides a timely reminder to householders to make sure their chimney is ready for the winter months ahead.

Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service is urging householders to ensure their chimney is safe and to have their chimney swept by a registered chimney sweep. 

There were 102 chimney fires in Cheshire, Halton and Warrington from April 1, 2015, and March 31, 2016.

This year’s Chimney Fire Safety Week calls for homeowners to get their chimneys swept by a registered sweep to prevent chimney damage, and, in worse cases, house fires.

The service advices to: always use a fire guard to protect against flying sparks from hot embers; make sure embers are properly put out before you go to bed; and keep chimneys and flues clean and well maintained.

Nick Evans, Head of Prevention at Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service, explains: “We’ve had a colder summer than expected and people have been lighting coal and solid fuel fires to keep their homes warm.

“To keep you and your family safe from fire you should make sure you have your chimney swept regularly, depending on what fuel you burn, before the colder months set in and you begin to use your fire again. If the worst should happen, working smoke alarms can give you the early warning, and a fire-plan can help you ensure your family’s escape in a fire – make sure you have at least one smoke alarm on every level of your home and test them weekly or, at the very least, monthly. And don’t keep this advice to yourself – pass it on. Is there anyone you know who may need your help in organising a sweep or testing their alarms?”

Nick added: “A stove or open fire can be an ideal and pleasant way to keep warm in the winter, but without proper maintenance a chimney can become dangerous.  Latest statistics show that there are over 102 chimney fires in Cheshire, Halton and Warrington, but most of these are preventable.

“All chimneys and flues should be cleaned and checked during the summer months to ensure they’re free from debris and in full working order before the heating season. A blocked or defective chimney can cause both chimney fires and carbon monoxide poisonings so it’s very important to employ a professional qualified chimney sweep.”