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Safety Hub

Chimneys and open fires

Whether it's a chimney or an open fire it's important to keep it clean and use it safely to prevent fires or other accidents.
British Sign Language video for this safety page

Most chimney fires are preventable, and there are lots of things you can do to stay safe.

Chimneys that aren’t swept regularly will have soot deposits that may fall back down the chimney, setting fire to carpets and furniture. Clean chimneys are the safest ones. They should be swept regularly to avoid the build-up of soot, as well as debris and obstructions such as birds’ nests, according to the fuel:

  • smokeless/oil/gas – at least once a year
  • bituminous coal – at least twice a year
  • wood – quarterly when in use

Don’t overload the fire with fuel and avoid burning inappropriate waste, like food, green timber, plastic and MDF. Flammable liquids such as petrol or paraffin should never be used to light the fire.

Spark guards or fireguards can prevent sparks or embers from igniting carpets or furniture. Always use a fireguard in front of the fire if there are children in the property and never dry anything on your fireguard.

Gas Safe

Remember to use a Gas Safe-registered engineer on gas appliances. To find a chimney sweep in your area, visit The National Association of Chimney Sweeps or The Guild of Master Chimney Sweeps.

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