Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service is giving out advice on preventing chimney fires for Chimney Fire Safety Week.
Last winter, there were 90 chimney fires in Nottinghamshire, a rise of 27 on the previous year.
In response to this, leaflets will be given to a number of householders with open fires and coal merchants in some rural parts of the county have already distributed similar leaflets on the Fire Service’s behalf.
The Fire Service says that, to prevent fires and carbon monoxide poisoning, householders should have chimneys swept regularly, maintain chimneys and flues properly, use a fire guard to protect against sparks, make sure the fire is extinguished before going to bed or leaving the house, use good quality fuel, make sure air vents or bricks are not blocked and that the room is ventilated.
The appropriate frequency of sweeping depends on the type of fuel used. Anyone using wood should have their chimney swept every quarter, when in use, while people using smokeless fuel only need to have their chimney swept once a year.
Risk reduction officer Michelle Fitzpatrick said: “All chimneys and flues should be cleaned and checked regularly, as a blocked or defective chimney can cause both a chimney fire and carbon monoxide poisoning.”
“Clean chimneys also burn more efficiently, saving money and helping the environment. In case a fire does start, it’s important to have a smoke alarm on every level of your home and to test it weekly.”
More information is available from either the Institute of Chimney Sweeps at www.instituteofchimneysweeps.com or the National Association of Chimney Sweeps www.nacs.org.uk