Chimney fires in Scotland traditionally account for around 1,000 incidents every year.
Chimney Fire Safety Week, part of the national fire safety campaign, calls for homeowners to clean up their act and get their chimneys swept by an approved sweep to prevent chimney damage, and, in worse cases, household fires.
Having a certified sweep clear the flue makes disaster much less likely to strike.
The type of fuel burned in a fire determines how often the chimney should be swept.
Where smokeless coals are burned the chimney should be swept at least once each year, while fires burning bituminous coal or peat need to have the chimney swept twice per year.
A chimney serving a fire where wood is burned should be swept quarterly when it is in use.
Defects in a chimney can also cause fires so people are encouraged to go into the loft or roof space occasionally to check the chimney while the fire is alight.
This will allow them to check for soot coming from cracks, defective brickwork or mortar joints.
Taking these steps prior to the winter months, when fires are likely to be in greater use, will help prevent emergencies from happening but if a fire does strike then early warning is crucial.
Your home should have the following to meet the standards:
- One smoke alarm installed in the room most frequently used for general daytime living purposes
- One smoke alarm in every circulation space on each storey, such as hallways and landings
- One heat alarm installed in every kitchen
- You should have a carbon monoxide detector fitted in any room where there is a carbon-fuelled appliance such as boilers, fires including open fires, heaters and stoves or a flue
All alarms should be ceiling mounted and interlinked.
For more information on maintaining your chimney and how can help with fire prevention.
Firefighters are available to conduct FREE Home Fire Safety Visit (HFSV) to prevent accidental dwelling fires from occurring and to protect the public from being injured in such events.
To find a certified chimney sweep, or for more information on chimney fire safety, please contact one of the following organisations: