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'Clean your chimney' plea after rise in fires across South Lakeland
A LEADING Kendal firefighter is urging householders to keep their chimneys clean after a surge in fires across South Lakeland.
Kendal Fire Station manager, Brian Steadman, said his team had responded to its first chimney fire since the clocks went back.
He said that homeowners were reopening old fireplaces and using coal and wood to heat their properties amid rising fuel costs.
But as Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service reports an increase in chimney fires across the South Lakes, Mr Steadman wants people to ensure they have their chimney swept every year to cut the risk of one developing in their home.
“To keep the risk of fire to a minimum, it is vital that all flues and chimneys are maintained in good working order at all times,” said Mr Steadman.
“This is just as important for appliances that use gas, as those that burn coal, wood or oil.”
Regular sweeping can prevent chimney fires and, by clearing blockages, reduces the risk of dangerous fumes being emitted.
Mr Steadman said modern sweeping was an ‘efficient and clean process’ that can remove build-up of soot and obstructions such as birds' nests and leaves.
“A fire in the home can be devastating, but ensuring that chimneys and flues are well maintained greatly reduces this risk,” he explained.
“It is easy to forget about getting chimneys and flues swept because you can’t see when it needs doing, but ensuring that this is done every year will help you to stay safe.”
Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service tips:
Chimneys using smokeless fuel or bituminous coal/oil should be swept at least once a year
Chimneys using wood should be swept quarterly when in use
Ensure a fireguard is in front of the fire at all times - spark guards can prevent a serious property fire
Extinguish the fire before going to bed or leaving the house
Do not light fires using flammable liquids such as petrol or paraffin
Do not burn paper or rubbish on fires in the grate
Have your attic checked occasionally when the fire is alight, checking for smoke from cracks, defective brickwork or mortar joints
For more information, or a free Home Safety Visit from Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service, telephone 0800 358 4777 or Kendal Fire Station on 01539-713663.