Chimney fire reminder - 10 so far this month

Fri 18 Jan, 2019

Turntable ladder extended to reach chimney fire

Firefighters are urging people who have open fires to make sure their chimneys are regularly swept and in good condition.

They attended 70 chimney fires in Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes last year, and have already been to 10 this month, including one last night.

Joanne Cook, head of Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service’s community safety team, said: “Chimneys and flues should be cleaned and checked to ensure they are free from debris and nests and in full working order.

“A blocked or defective chimney can cause carbon monoxide poisoning as well as a fire. Make sure your chimney is swept regularly, depending upon what fuel you burn, and that you have working smoke alarms in your home and test them once a month.”

Recommended chimney-sweeping frequencies are:

- Smokeless coal - at least once a year

- Wood - up to four times a year

- Bituminous coal - twice a year 

- Oil or gas - once a year

To find a certified chimney sweep, follow the links at the bottom of the page.

Top tips for safer chimneys

- Keep chimneys and flues clean and well maintained.

- If you have recently opened up or about to start to use a fireplace, make sure it is inspected by a qualified person.

- Inspect your chimney breast, particularly in the roof space. Make sure that it is sound and that the sparks or fumes cannot escape through cracks or broken bricks.

- When burning wood, use dry, seasoned woods only. Never burn cardboard boxes or waste paper.

- 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.

Safety advice if you have a woodburning stove

- Before using a new woodburning stove, check your installer has supplied a carbon monoxide alarm, fitted a notice plate and given you the manual. 

- If you are having a wood, solid fuel or biomass burner fitted to your home, choose a HETAS registered engineer.

- When you have a wood, solid fuel or biomass burner fitted, it’s a legal requirement for your installer to give you a compliance certificate.

- Always use the fuel the manufacturer recommends for your burner.

- Single skin stainless steel liners should never be used with wood or multi fuel burners.

- Stainless steel flue liners should be replaced after 15 to 20 years.

Related links

- Association of Professional Independent Chimney Sweeps -

- Guild of Master Chimney Sweeps -

- Heating Equipment Testing and Approvals Scheme -

- National Association of Chimney Engineers -

- National Association of Chimney Sweeps -