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Making a clean sweep for safety

22nd September 2011

North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (NYFRS) is reminding local householders to ensure their chimney is fire-safe while the weather is fine by booking a registered chimney sweep this Chimney Fire Safety Week (26th Sept-2nd Oct).

The inviting warmth of an open fire is the last thing on most peoples’ minds in the summer, but it’s best to check that your chimney is in the best of health before you start to use it. Surprisingly the peak season for the country’s professional chimney sweeps is in fact drawing very near, and with registered sweeps’ diaries filling up fast, householders should consider having their chimneys swept soon.

Here are some tips for safer chimneys:

• Always use a fire guard to protect against flying sparks from hot embers

• Make sure embers are properly put out before you go to bed

• Keep chimneys and flues clean and well maintained

NYFRS Group Manager Trevor Lund explains: “An open fire is a great way to keep warm in the winter, but without proper maintenance a chimney can become dangerous. The latest statistics show that there are approximately 8,000 chimney fires a year in England and 320 in York and North Yorkshire, but most of these are preventable.

To keep yourself and your family safe from fire you should take care to have your chimney swept regularly. If the worst should happen, a smoke alarm can give you the extra time you need to escape in a house fire – make sure you test yours regularly. It is also a good idea to have a carbon monoxide alarm fitted.”

Martin P Glynn, the President of the National Association of Chimney Sweeps adds:“All chimneys and flue-ways should be cleaned and checked during the summer months to ensure they’re free from debris and in full working order before the heating season. 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 such as those certified by NACS.”

Regular maintenance of your chimney will depend on the fuel you burn:


Smokeless coals        At least once a year                        
Wood      Up to four times a year
Bituminous coal Twice a year
 Oil Once a year
 Gas Once a year

To find a certified Chimney Sweep, or for more information on chimney fire safety, please visit or

roof of house on fire (chimney fire)



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