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Chimney fires

Make a Clean Sweep of It!  Get your chimney swept now to prevent a fire in your home this winter

The latest statistics show that there are approximately 6,000 chimney fires a year in England. Since the "credit crunch", it appears that more people are using open fires and wood burners, because of the rising costs of gas, electricity and oil. A recent incident also highlighted the dangers of a blocked central heating flue where an elderly couple suffered from the effects of Carbon Monoxide poisoning. This can happen with any fossil fuel system (which includes both the appliance and the flue) if it is faulty or the room is not properly ventilated.

Most chimney fires are preventable. Regular inspection and cleaning of chimney flues will help prevent fires within chimneys. We are urging anyone who plans to light their fire this winter to get it swept first. The cost of a chimney sweep is very small (from approximately £30) when compared to dealing with the damage and cost of repair from a fire.

A few simple tips to reduce the risk of fire...

Simple tips to greatly reduce your chances of having a fire in your chimney:

  • Sweep the chimney before use.
  • Ensure a fireguard is in front of the fire at all times Sparkguards can prevent a serious property fire.
  • Extinguish the fire before going to bed or leaving the house.
  • Never use petrol or paraffin to light your fire.
  • Make sure you have a working smoke alarm and check it works regularly!.

The National Association of Chimney Sweeps has a network of fully insured members throughout the country, who work to a Code of Practice.

Recommendations for how often you should  get the chimney cleaned

We recommend the following simple maintenance routines:

Solid Fuel Fires - Once a year for smokeless fuel; twice a year for coal.

Wood Burning Fires - 4 times a year when in use.

Gas Fires - Once a year if designed for sweeping.

Oil Fires - Once a year. 

  • In the event of a chimney fire... Dial 999 and ask for the Fire Service. It will help if someone can wait outside to meet them.
  • If you have a conventional open fire, extinguish the fire by gently splashing water onto the open fire. If you have a solid fuel appliance, close down the ventilation as much as possible.
  • Move furniture and rugs away from the fireplace and remove any nearby ornaments.
  • Place a sparkguard in front of the fire.
  • Feel the chimney breast in other rooms for signs of heat.
  • If a wall is becoming hot, move furniture away.
  • Ensure that access to your attic or roof space is available for the Fire Service as they will want to thoroughly check this area for signs of possible fire spread.
  • Always call the Fire and Rescue Service for a chimney fire - it has the ability to destroy your home.

Remember!

Without proper maintenance, any flue from a fire or stove can cause a dangerous build up of carbon monoxide gas. A carbon monoxide detector will help protect you from this risk.

Click here to go to the National Association of Chimney Sweeps website

Click here to download the Heat Your Home Safely leaflet

Home Fire Safety Checks

The Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service offer local residents free Home Fire Safety Checks. These checks provide advice to residents on general fire safety awareness, smoke alarms and escape routes. To apply for a free home fire safety check, complete the application form provided in the forms tab above. Please note: All applications will be responded to but we prioritise the allocation of Home Fire Safety Checks to correlate with target groups that our data identifies as being considered to be at higher risk from accidental dwelling fires. These groups are:

  • Lone pensioners.
  • People with long term illness.
  • Single parents.
  • Rented accommodation (private and housing association).
  • Homes of multiple occupancy by more than one household and more than two people which may include bedsits, shared houses and some self-contained flats.

The leaflets below are available to download or print:

Fire Prevention Handbook
Fire safety when Celebrating
Fire Safety in the Home
Fire Safety for People with Sight and Mobility Difficulties
Fire - Make your Home Safe
Fire Safety for Parents and Child Carers
Fire Safety in Shared or Rented Accommodation 
Plan a Safe Escape

For further fire safety advice please click on the links below:

Click here for Thatch Fire Safety Advice

Click here for Fire Safety Advice

Electrical Safety in the Home, Industry and Business

An increasing amount of the fires attended by the Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service are caused by electrical faults.  This may be due to the numbers of appliances and equipment now present in our homes and businesses since the beginning of the electronic age and advancement in modern technology.  Advice and guidance, as well as current news and real life stories, can be found on the Electrical Safety Councils website through the following link.

Click here to go to the Electrical Safety Council website

The Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service insist that electrical safety is treated seriously - where in doubt consult a qualified electrical engineer.

Overloading Sockets Calculator

The Electrical Safety Council have produced an interactive socket overload calculator to illustrate whether you may be overloading your electrical sockets.  Please click on the link below to use the calculator:

www.twothirtyvolts.org.uk/socket-overload/

Carbon Monoxide Awareness

Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning can be fatal or cause permanent damage to your health.  CO is produced when carbon fuels don't burn completely.  It has no smell or taste and, in large quantities, it can kill very quickly.

Click here for Carbon Monoxide information

Click here for information on CO poisoning when camping

Click here for information on CO poisoning in the home

Click here for information on who qualifies for free checks

Click here to view the CO Awareness website