chimney fire in building

Chimney Fire Safety Advice for Autumn


As summer draws to a close and we head towards autumn many homeowners will be looking forward to using an open fire or log burner to keep their home warm and cosy. If you are currently ordering a supply of logs to see you through the colder months, we’d encourage you to stop and think about chimney fire safety.

There are around 6,000 chimney fires each year in England and it is thought that most of these could have been prevented. The increasing cost of electricity, gas and oil may mean that more people than ever will be relying on a fire or log burner over the coming months.

There are a number of steps you can take to ensure that you can safely enjoy the warmth and glow of a real fire this autumn and winter.

  • Make sure that your chimney is swept regularly by a certified chimney sweep, especially before autumn when you will be wanting to use your fire more often. A good sweep can help prevent chimney fires and prevent damage to your chimney. An un-swept chimney may also lead to carbon monoxide poisoning if gases from the fire are not removed properly.
  • Maintenance matters! All log burners, fireplaces, flues and chimneys should be kept in good working order and cleaned regularly.
  • Always make sure that air vents are kept clear, blocking them will interrupt the air supply.
  • Smoke alarms are your early warning system. Be sure to have at least one smoke alarm on each level of your home so that you are alerted quickly if a fire should start.
  • Every room that has an appliance that burns solid fuel should also have a carbon monoxide alarm in good working order.
  • Make sure you are using the correct fuel for your fireplace or appliance. If burning logs, check that these are well seasoned to reduce the risk of sparks.
  • Whenever a fire is lit, make sure you use a fire guard. This is especially important if you have children and or pets at home.
  • Store your logs a safe distance from your fire, if they are too close there is a risk they could be ignited by a stray spark, or a fire caused by radiated heat.
  • Never leave your fire unattended and make sure it is fully extinguished before heading up to bed in the evening or leaving the house during the day.

Not sure what to expect when your chimney is swept? The chimney sweep will inspect your chimney before removing any blockages in the chimney as well as any build-up of ash and soot from the chimney walls. Today’s sweeps take care to protect and carpets or rugs and will vacuum any stray ash once their work is complete, so there is no need to worry about mess. You can help the chimney sweep by making sure your fireplace/chimney is easy to access when they arrive.

Do you have any neighbours who might also benefit from this advice? If so please share, especially with those less able than you, to help keep everybody safe.