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Making a clean sweep

11 September 2012

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WITH SUMMER nights drawing to a close, residents are being urged to prepare for the cold winter months ahead during Chimney Fire Safety Week.

 Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) has joined forces with the National Association of Chimney Sweeps and Heating Equipment Testing and Approvals Scheme (HETAS) to urge householders to have their chimney swept by a registered chimney sweep.  

 Open fires not only warm up a home, but also create a unique relaxing ambience. With the number of people using open fires steadily growing, SFRS has provided the following top 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 going to bed

· Keep chimneys and flues clean and well maintained

· Never use petrol or paraffin to used to light a fire

· Always fit smoke detectors on every floor of your property and check them weekly

 Councillor Colin Spence, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for public protection said; “With the colder, winter months looming, it is inevitable that people will begin to start using open fires and their chimneys again. 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.”

SFRS has issued a guide to how often you chimneys should be swept, according to what fuel is used:


  • 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


Councillor Spence continued “Latest statistics show that last year there were approximately 9,000 chimney fires in England, but most of these fires are preventable if residents follow the correct advice and guidelines.”