Saturday, 26 January 2013

Chimneys And Open Fires (from Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue)

Fire in a Fireplace (Image Courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

The following article is reproduced from Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service as advice to home owners with Chimneys and Open Fires;

"An open fire in your home is a hazardous area.  The variety of fuels that can be burned and the way that sparks and embers can find themselves thrown beyond the hearth means that home owners with open fires need to be especially vigilant.  Whatever fuel you burn, it is important that the chimney is kept clean and you do not allow soot or ash to build up.  Follow the steps below to enjoy your open fire safely:

  • Have your chimney swept at least once a year, or more frequently if you burn wood
  • Avoid burning resinous woods as soot builds up quickly
  • Burn only suitable fuels
  • Do not overload the grate or appliance
  • Do not bank fires too high and remember to let them burn down well before you retire to bed
  • Check the hearth, floor and furnishings near the fire for hot sparks or embers before you go to bed
  • Use a fire or spark guard to prevent accidental fires and make sure that it has the kite mark or conforms to a relevant British / European standard
  • Do not place objects on or over the mantle-piece which may cause you to stand too close to the fire to reach or use them
  • Inspect your chimney breast regularly - particularly in the roof space - to ensure that it is sound and that sparks or fumes cannot escape through cracks or broken bricks.

If you do nothing else to protect your home and your family, ensure you fit a smoke alarm that has the kite mark and conforms to British Standard 5446 (Part 1).  Test the smoke alarm at least once a week by pressing the test button and know the life span of your battery - mark your calendar as a reminder to replace it.

A FREE home fire safety check may be available to you. Requests are prioritised according to individual risk."

More fire safety advice is available on-line from the Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service - here.