Dorset owners urged to have chimneys swept

HOMEOWNERS are requested to take measures to reduce the risk of fire by having their chimneys swept by a certified chimney sweep.

The call was made as part of National Chimney Fire Safety Week, which calls on homeowners to have their chimneys swept in an effort to prevent damage to chimneys and home fires.

The annual campaign is organized by the Heating Equipment Testing and Approvals Scheme (HETAS) as part of the government’s Fire Kills campaign, which urges homeowners to stay “fire free”.

The Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service (DWFRS) is supporting Chimney Fire Safety Week which runs from August 30 to September 5.

Vikki Thomas, DWFRS Safety and Wells Manager, said: “A clean chimney can help prevent fires and structural damage to your property. Getting a qualified chimney sweep to inspect your chimney regularly and use guaranteed quality fuel are the keys to prevention.

“In addition to removing soot and tar deposits and cleaning obstacles such as bird or animal nests, leaves and debris, the chimney sweep will also check for any problems with the chimney or siding.”

DWFRS has witnessed nearly 170 chimney fires in both counties last year and has issued the following advice to anyone with a working chimney at home:

  • Do not use flammable liquids such as gasoline or paraffin to start your fire
  • Do not burn excessive amounts of garbage paper
  • Do not overload the fire with fuel
  • Ask your chimney sweep for advice on how often to visit – the type of fire you have can impact this
  • Always have the chimney swept before the colder weather sets in
  • Make sure you have working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in your home and test them regularly

A spokesperson for HETAS said: “Regular chimney sweeping and maintenance programs are essential. You should have your chimney swept at least twice a year when you burn wood or domestic bituminous coal and at least once a year when you burn smokeless fuels.

“The best times to have your chimney swept are right before the start of the heating season and after your stove has not been in use for an extended period.”

For more tips on staying home fire safe, visit

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