Warning after 148 chimney fires in county

Banbury Cake: . .

FIREFIGHTERS are warning residents to take care of their chimneys following nearly 150 blazes this year.

There have been 148 chimney fires in the county in 2013 so far – many of which were preventable, according to Oxfordshire County Council’s Fire and Rescue Service.

Home and community safety manager Stuart Garner urged people to sweep their chimneys at least once a year and use a good fireguard.

He said: “Colder weather can increase the risk of fire within the home, with many people enjoying a log fire. A roaring fire may be a welcoming sight, but it is essential that it is contained using a British Standard guard, and that chimneys are swept at least once a year.

“In 2013, there have been nearly 150 chimney-related fires in Oxfordshire so far, and I think some of these could have been avoided if more care had been taken.”

He said householders should get their chimneys inspected, particularly in the roof space, by a competent engineer to make sure they are structurally sound.

The plea comes as part of the county council’s Ready for Winter safety campaign.

Mr Garner also urged residents to look after portable heaters, adding: “Portable heaters should be unplugged before people go to sleep and clothing should never be dried on them.

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“Hot water bottles should not be used in the same bed as an electric blanket, which should also be turned off before someone gets into bed, unless it is designed to be left on.”

Last year, there were 166 chimney fires in Oxfordshire, down from 2010, when there were 198.

Comments (1)

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3:33pm Thu 12 Dec 13

snert says...

Most people don''t know how to manage and maintain a fireplace. I'm surprised the number isn't higher.

If you get a chimney fire, help yourself a little bit by shutting the flue or closing all the vents if you have a burner and removing the oxygen. Also get a spade and shovel the fire embers into a metal bucket and take them outside. That takes care of a continuous ignition/heat source. On a basic level a fire needs 3 things to burn and continue burning. Take one away and you stand a good chance of it going out on its own.

http://en.wikipedia.
org/wiki/Fire_triang
le

Clean your chimney and the beginning of the season when you're likely to start using it, not at the end when you stop. That way you get rid of the stuff up there and also the rubbish that accumalates through the spring, summer and autumn.

Don't burn coated paper or plastics as their residue will stick to the inside of the chimney. Don't burn wet/green/unseasoned wood.

If you don't know what you're doing, get a fan heater.
Most people don''t know how to manage and maintain a fireplace. I'm surprised the number isn't higher. If you get a chimney fire, help yourself a little bit by shutting the flue or closing all the vents if you have a burner and removing the oxygen. Also get a spade and shovel the fire embers into a metal bucket and take them outside. That takes care of a continuous ignition/heat source. On a basic level a fire needs 3 things to burn and continue burning. Take one away and you stand a good chance of it going out on its own. http://en.wikipedia. org/wiki/Fire_triang le Clean your chimney and the beginning of the season when you're likely to start using it, not at the end when you stop. That way you get rid of the stuff up there and also the rubbish that accumalates through the spring, summer and autumn. Don't burn coated paper or plastics as their residue will stick to the inside of the chimney. Don't burn wet/green/unseasoned wood. If you don't know what you're doing, get a fan heater. snert

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