Welcome from the Chief
Autumn is fast approaching - so now is the time to be safety conscious before lighting your fire for the first time.
Most chimney fires are preventable so it is important to keep yourself and your family safe by doing everything possible to reduce the risk of a fire.
The most common causes of chimney fires are inadequately sized or poorly installed appliances, blocked chimneys and using wet wood in burners.
There are a number of precautionary measures you can take to ensure you and your household are as safe as possible when lighting fires at home.
Get your chimney swept
A good place to start is to have your chimney swept by a certified member of the National Association of Chimney Sweeps. Infrequent sweeping of chimneys can increase the risk of chimney fires, and can even cause carbon monoxide poisoning.
All chimneys should be swept regularly, and now is the perfect time before the colder winter months set in and you begin to use your fire more regularly.
It costs less than £100 to have your chimney swept so I would urge everyone to arrange this before they light their first fire this autumn.
Regular maintenance of your chimney will depend on the fuel you burn – if you burn oil or gas, your chimney should be swept once a year; bituminous coal, twice a year; wood up to four times a year; and smokeless coals at least once a year. Also, do not burn wet wood.
When considering a coal or log burner for the home, it is important that you take into account the size of the appliance. An appliance which is too large will never become hot enough to effectively burn all of the fuel within the wood, and unburned fuel will pass up the chimney as smoke, condensing within the flue as extremely flammable creosote.
Protect your property
Finally, always make sure embers are properly put out before you go to bed and use a fire guard to protect against flying sparks from hot embers.
Smoke alarms save lives
If the worst should happen, a smoke alarm can give you the extra time you need to escape in a house fire – so make sure you test yours regularly.
Spreading the word on student fire safety
North Wales Fire and Rescue Service will be working in partnership with higher education establishments across North Wales during September and October to ensure students are as safe as possible from fire.
Staff will be attending ‘Fresher’s Fairs’ events at Bangor University and Glyndŵr, Wrexham to give safety advice to students embarking on their first year of University life.
If you’re starting university or college this month, or if your loved ones are leaving home and you want to make sure they stay safe, our Facebook , Twitter and Instagram profiles are a great source of relevant fire safety information – visit www.facebook/northwalesfireservice or take a look at Northwalesfire on Twitter and Instagram.
Have your say!
North Wales Fire and Rescue Authority wants to hear from you about its plans for the future – keep an eye out on our fire and rescue service website and social media for information on the upcoming consultation which will focus on safeguarding the environment, and will ask you for your views on our future response to emergencies and our prevention work.