Make a clean sweep for safety
4th September 2014
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As part of the national Fire Kills campaign, Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service is urging householders to ensure their chimney is safe and to have their chimney swept by a registered chimney sweep. 

The Fire Service has provided some top tips for safer chimneys:

  • always use a fire guard to protect against flying sparks from hot embers
  • keep chimneys and flues clean and well maintained
  • make sure embers are properly put out before you go to bed or leaving the house
  • when burning wood, use dry, seasoned woods only
  • never burn cardboard boxes or waste paper
  • do not overload the grate 
  • consider having a carbon monoxide detector fitted as an additional safeguard against the build-up of poisonous fumes
  • have a working smoke alarm


George Setter, Fire Reduction Manager explains:  With the colder, winter months fast approaching, people will begin to start using open fires and their chimneys again.  In order to keep you and your family safe from fire, you need to take necessary steps such as ensuring your chimney is swept regularly, depending upon what fuel you burn and I would urge all householders to have a working smoke alarm in their home.” 

Smokeless coals

At least once a year


Up to four times a year

Bituminous coal

Twice a year


Once a year


Once a year



George Setter, Fire Reduction Manager adds: “Latest statistics show that there are approximately 7,000 chimney fires a year in England, but most chimney fires are preventable.

“Check that your chimneys and flues are clean and well maintained and free of any blockages like bird nests and cobwebs. The chimney breast itself will need inspecting, particularly in the roof space, making sure that it is sound and that sparks or fumes cannot escape through cracks or broken bricks.


“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.”

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