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Sweeping saves lives!

Let’s imagine a cosy scene. You enjoy using a wood fire stove or open fire indoors. The flames bring warmth and comfort, especially on a cold winter’s night. Yet if the chimney flue is not clean, soot and other residue from the fires start to block the opening. Carbon monoxide produced from the fire needs to escape to the outside atmosphere. It’s an invisible, poisonous gas, which kills. If the flue is not clean enough, the gas can’t escape so it whirls back down the chimney and into the room – where it can be inhaled by children and other loved ones, especially when they’re asleep. Remember – carbon monoxide kills by stopping vital oxygen being carried around the body.

Carbon monoxide poisoning MUST be taken seriously. Uncontrolled fires can also set soot alight, which could see your chimney catching fire. Employing the services of a professional chimney sweep gives you peace of mind that the indoor fire is safe to use. These fires are a wonderful resource to meet heating needs but they must be controlled. A chimney sweep should be able to give you advice on all aspects of chimney and fire care.

Kent Fire & Rescue Service recommends that chimneys are swept at least once per year – and more often if you burn wood.

Stuart Skilton, head of community safety for Kent firefighters, says: “We are advising residents who do use an open fire or wood burning stove to have their chimney swept regularly and also to consider having the condition of your chimney checked to ensure it is safe.

“It is easy to overlook the fact that a build up of soot and ash left over from previous fires can lead to the chimney catching alight, presenting a real risk to your home and family.

“I would also remind people to fit and maintain working smoke alarms on every floor of your property to give you the early warning needed in the event of a fire. Just three breaths of toxic smoke from a fire in your home can be deadly.”

Safety tips by Kent Fire & Rescue Service:-

  • Make sure the appliance receives enough air to allow the fuel to burn properly
  • Only burn suitable fuels
  • Do not overload the grate/appliance
  • Maintain your appliance in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions
  • Use a fire or spark guard to prevent accidental fires
  • Inspect your chimney breast, particularly the roof space. Make sure that it is sound and that the sparks or fumes cannot escape through cracks or broken bricks.
  • Avoid storing items in the roof space close to your chimney
  • Consider having a carbon monoxide detector fitted as an additional safeguard against the build up of poisonous fumes.
  • Make sure you fit, and regularly test, a smoke alarm. It is the single most important piece of safety equipment in any home.

James the Sweep offers free safety advice about your chimney. Book a sweep today with the Master Sweep of Tunbridge Wells and the wider Kent region.