Autumnal weather sparks call for chimneys to be swept

Chimney potsWith the onset of Autumnal weather, Avon Fire & Rescue Service (AF&RS) is urging people to get their chimneys swept and prepare their homes for colder weather.

Between April 2012 and March 2013 AF&RS attended 106 chimney fires, compared to 101 the previous year.

During Chimney Fire Safety Week (Monday 9 to Sunday 15 September) AF&RS is highlighting the importance of getting chimneys swept before the first fire of the winter is lit.

Chimneys with fires using smokeless fuel, bituminous coal, oil and gas should be swept at least once a year, those using wood should be swept every three months when in use.

Avon Fire & Rescue Service Station Manager John Rides, said: “It may not feel particularly cold at the moment, but this is an ideal time to ensure your home is ready for when the colder weather arrives.

“Open fires can be a very good source of heat, however if left unattended or without maintenance to the chimney, a fire could break out devastating the home and endangering lives.

“Always use a fire guard to prevent embers from falling from the fire on to nearby furnishings and to keep young children at a safe distance from the fire.

“Another step you can take to prepare for the winter is to ensure you have working smoke alarms on every level of your home. The alarms alert occupants to a fire and can provide vital extra minutes to escape the premises, especially at night. If you already have a smoke alarm, make sure the battery is working by testing it once a week.”

For more winter fire safety advice click here