When the weather becomes colder, those with open fires are more likely to use them.
In 2020/21 (April 2020 to March 2021) Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service attended 39 chimney fires.
Between April 2016 and March 2021 (a five-year period) our crews have attended 308 chimney fires across Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes.
A blocked or defective chimney can cause carbon monoxide poisoning as well as a fire, so regular inspection and cleaning of chimney flues can help to identify and eliminate issues before they become a problem.
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
- Consider fitting a carbon monoxide alarm
- Ensure you have working smoke alarms on each level of your home and test them every month
- Consider requesting a Fire and Wellness Visit to review fire precautions within your home and receive additional advice and guidance
The following websites can help you find a certified chimney sweep:
- National Association of Chimney Sweeps – nacs.org.uk
- Guild of Master Chimney Sweeps – guildofmasterchimneysweeps.co.uk
- Institute of Chimney Sweeps – instituteofchimneysweeps.com
- Heating Equipment Testing and Approvals Scheme – hetas.co.uk
What NOT To Do
- Never burn cardboard boxes or waste paper
What TO Do
- Always use a fire guard to protect against flying sparks and hot embers
- Ensure embers are put out before you go to bed
- Keep chimneys and flues clean and maintained
- If you have recently opened a fireplace make sure it is inspected by a qualified person
- When burning wood, use dry, seasoned woods only
- Inspect your chimney breast, particularly in the roof space
- Ensure the brickwork on your chimney is sound and that the sparks or fumes cannot escape through cracks or broken bricks
- Ensure wood burners are installed and maintained in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions
- Make sure the appliance receives enough air to allow the fuel to burn properly
- Make sure your chimney is swept regularly by a certified chimney sweep. The recommended frequencies depend upon the fuel you burn, and we have included a guide below, but if you have any concerns or are unsure your Chimney Sweep will be able to advise you