Ensuring that your chimney is swept regularly, making sure fires are out before you go to bed and testing smoke alarms is just some of the advice that firefighters have issued, following a number of fires in chimneys and open fires over the weekend.
Residents across the county are being urged to make sure their home fire safety routine is up to date, particularly due to the increase in people using open fires and fuel and log burners.
Firefighters from Stockhill and Mansfield attended two separate chimney fires yesterday (Sunday 5 March), with one of these requiring an Aerial Ladder Platform (ALP) to be mobilised to fight the fire from above.
Later in the day, two appliances from Newark were called to a house fire on Staunton Road, Newark, where a 78-year-old woman was rescued from the property by neighbours before the arrival of the Service.
Crews used two breathing apparatus, one hose reel jet, and a positive pressure ventilation fan to extinguish the fire, which is believed to have been caused by an open fire.
Station Manager Simon Glew attended the incident in Newark, and said: "I must congratulate the actions and bravery of neighbours, who acted selflessly by putting themselves in harm’s way to save the life of someone in need.
"Having working smoke alarms not only alerted the occupier, but also those in close proximity. On arrival, fire crews worked very efficiently to ensure that the fire was contained to a single room and that damage to the property was kept to a minimum.
"I would like to urge people to check their smoke alarms regularly to ensure they are working and I can’t stress enough how important it is to have an escape plan in the event of a fire."
Simon added that those with open fires or log burners in their homes should ensure that their chimney safety routine is up to date.
"Making sure that your chimney or flu is clean will eliminate the build-up on soot and debris, and you should ensure that your chimney is swept at least once a year if you burn smokeless or bituminous fuel, once a year for oil and gas, and every three months when burning wood. Remember that it is not enough to use a vacuum cleaner and that you should inspect your chimney or flu regularly," Simon said.
Our top fire safety tips for preventing a chimney fire are:
- Make sure that appliances are installed and serviced by competent engineers;
- Avoid using flammable liquids such as petrol and paraffin to light your fire;
- Never block air bricks, vents of flues, and fit a carbon monoxide alarm in your property;
- Do not burn paper or rubbish;
- Make sure that the fire is not overloaded with fuel;
- Inspect your loft every now and then when the fire is alight to check for smoke coming from cracks in brickwork;
- Make sure all fires are out before going to bed or leaving the house;
- Never stack fuel by the open fire or burner;
- Test smoke alarms regularly, and make sure you have one on each level of your home.
Simon added: "Should you have a chimney fire at your home, make sure that you close the door and alert others in the property, before getting out of the house, staying out, and calling the fire service."