Chimney safety warning

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service urge residents to ensure their safety this autumn.

With winter on the way and the cooler nights drawing in East Devon residents are urged to ensure their chimneys are in working order.

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service has issued some reminders to ensure householders safety and make sure their chimneys are fire safe by booking a registered chimney sweep.

Chimneys and flues need to be clean and free of blockages such as birds nests and cobwebs to allow the passage of combustion gases.

The chimney breast also needs inspecting to ensure that it is sound and that sparks or fumes cannot escape through cracks or broken bricks.

Fire investigation officer Mike Burroughs said: “An open fire is ideal to keep warm in the winter, but without proper maintenance a chimney can become dangerous.

“The most recent national statistics show that there are just over 7,000 chimney fires a year in England, with 10 per cent of these fires happening in Devon and Somerset, most of these fires would have been preventable.

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“To keep yourself and your family safe from fire you should take care to have your chimney swept regularly, depending upon what fuel you burn, before the colder winter months set in and you begin to use your fire and chimneys again.

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.”