Is your chimney ready for Santa?

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service issue tips to ensure East Devon residents stay safe this Christmas.

With Christmas fast approaching residents in East Devon are being reminded to ensure that their chimney is ready for Santa’s arrival.

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service are urging residents to check their fire place is in working order to avoid any festive nightmares this year.

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.

“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 this Christmas.”

He added: “Chimney fires can cause serious structural damage to a home, with the risks being even greater if the property has a thatched roof.

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“The damage is not only fire based but also the dirt and smell left from all the soot and smoke, which would affect your personal property, including all the Christmas presents.”

Households with wood burning stoves are also urged to check them regularly and make sure they are installed and maintained in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.

The fire service has issued the following tips to ensure families are safe this Christmas:

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

Make sure embers are properly put out before you going to bed or leaving the house

When burning wood, use dry, seasoned woods only and 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

It is also important to check smoke alarms are working properly and ensure that no dust is blocking the sensors.