Stay safe from fire when using wood burning stoves

Posted 18/12/2014 14:10:36

North Wales Fire and Rescue Service is highlighting the importance of ensuring that log burners are installed correctly following a spate of recent fires in the area.  

Terry Williams, Head of Community Safety said: "As it gets colder it's inevitable that we all spend more time indoors. You might take additional measures to keep warm such as using wood burning stoves but these can bring an increased risk of fire into the home. By following some simple rules you can ensure you stay safe and warm.

"Wood-burning stoves and wood burning boilers should use only the right quality of wood and need to be properly installed, maintained and regularly serviced by a qualified and competent person.

"If your wood burner is not burning correctly, contact the company or shop that sold it to you. Or contact the Association of British Solid Fuel Appliance Manufacturers for advice."

Here are some guidelines:

  • The stove or boiler should be installed by a competent person, following the maker's instructions and the building regulations and codes of practice.
  • Make sure there is always enough air coming into the room and that the chimney is clean.
  • Wood burning stoves and boilers require placement on a fire-resistant base. Placement directly onto a wooden floor or carpeted surface increases the risk of fire due to the extreme heat in the fire box.
  • The wood for burning should be dry and well-seasoned. This usually takes about two years. A well-seasoned log will have drying-out splits in the ends. Wet or newly-felled wood can cause tar or creosote to form in the wood burner and chimney.
  • If the creosote is not removed through yearly cleaning, there is a significant danger of the creosote igniting and causing a chimney fire any kind of chimney fire has the potential to result in significant loss of property or life.
  • If the wood burner has been used slowly (overnight, for instance) this should be followed by a period of faster burning to dry out any creosote and to warm up the chimney again.
  • The chimney should be cleaned at the end of each heating season and at least once during the heating season. It should also be inspected regularly.
  • Do not stack logs or place any other combustible materials immediately adjacent to the stove or boiler. Fire and Rescue Service has been called to fires caused as a result of logs being stored against the hot external surface of wood burners.
  • Children should be educated about the dangers of fire and should not be permitted near hot surfaces or the stove door. Use a protective fire guard that is suited to the design of the stove within your property.
  • Use extra caution and proper protection when opening and closing the stove door to add wood to the fire ensuring you minimise the possibility of contact with the stove and burning.

North Wales Fire and Rescue Service offers free home fire safety checks for all residents in the region. During a check, a member of the Service will visit your home, give fire safety hints and tips, help you to formulate a fire escape plan, and if necessary, fit new smoke alarms in your home. To register, or for more information on fire safety in the home, please visit www.nwales-fireservice.org.uk , or call our 24 hour hotline free on 0800 169 1234.

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