Fire Service supporting National Chimney Safety week

Issued by Scottish Fire & Rescuce Service

Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) want to help prevent chimney fires before they occur and this week the service is giving its backing to the Chief Fire Officers Association’s (CFOA) National Chimney Safety Week.
Chimney Fire Safety Week is a UK-wide initiative being promoted by the CFOA between 28 September and 4 October 2014.
There are over 1000 chimney fires in Scotland each year. Making sure your chimney is swept and checked regularly can significantly reduce your chances of having a chimney fire.
Local Senior Officer for Highland, Scott Hay, said: “Making sure your chimney is swept and checked regularly can significantly reduce your chances of having a chimney fire.
“We want to use Chimney Fire Safety Week to highlight some simple steps people can take to prevent a chimney fire happening in the first place.
“Soot and fuel residues slowly build up in chimneys over time and sometimes these leftovers can catch fire.
“If this happens, the chimney could send burning soot into your living room or start fires within the roof space or on other floors of the house. Even if it doesn’t burn the house down, a chimney fire can leave a huge mess. You can help prevent this by having your chimney swept regularly.”
He added: “The type of fuel you burn will determine how often your chimney should be swept. Don’t forget to give your chimney a clean sweep before winter as dust and debris can build up or blockages can occur if it has not been used regularly over the summer months. Make sure you use a registered chimney sweep.

“We would also discourage the use of wet wood as it can cause a build-up in the flue and ultimately a chimney fire.”

  • Do not light fires using flammable liquids such as petrol or paraffin.
  • Do not burn paper or rubbish on fires in the grate.
  • Do not overload the fire with fuel.
  • Use a spark-guard when the fire is unattended to prevent embers setting fire to furnishings or carpets.
  • Go into your loft/roof space occasionally to check the chimney when the fire is alight. Check for smoke or soot coming from cracks, defective brickwork or mortar joints. Defects in your chimney could cause a fire. Only enter the loft if it is safe to do so and you are physically able to

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service website has a host of safety information which could prevent a fire in your home and the service is urging people to Join Scotland’s Fight Against Fire and visit
LSO Hay added: “Taking steps to ensure your chimney is properly maintained can help make sure you, and your family, are safe from fire.

“Scottish Fire and Rescue Service is determined to drive down house fires and casualties.  We are asking the community to Join Scotland’s Fight Against Fire.

“If you, or someone you know, are at risk from fire, contact us for a free Home Fire Safety Visit.  We will also fit smoke alarms free of charge if required.”

“Our website has a lot of information about wood burning and solid fuel heating systems as well as information about chimney safety. We would encourage people to take a moment and have a look at our advice pages.

“We also offer residents a free Home Fire Safety Visit during which our staff can look at all the potential fire risks within your home and provide you with the best prevention advice. Just visit our website, call 0800 0731 999 or text ‘Check’ to 61611 to arrange your visit.”

How often should your chimney should be swept?  The following offers a guide:

  • Smokeless coals - At least once a year
  • Wood - Quarterly when in use
  • Bituminous coal or peat - Twice a year

To find a certified chimney sweep, or for more information on chimney fire safety, please contact:
The National Association of Chimney Sweeps Tel: 01785 811732
The Institute of Chimney Sweeps Tel: 01622 670333
HETAS Tel: 01242 681270


1 Oct 2014
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