HOME owners have been reminded to ensure they have their chimneys swept regularly following a spate of fires across the Staffordshire Moorlands.
During the last few weeks firefighters have been called to incidents in Leek, Cheddleton, Endon, Onecote, Waterhouses, Cauldon Lowe, Kingsley Holt, Kingsley, Cheadle and Biddulph.
The incidents have involved open fires and woodburners which the fire and rescue service log as a chimney fire.
Station Manager Ed Case said: “We issued several reminders prior to the colder weather setting in for people to make sure they have their chimneys swept before using fires.
“It is important to have chimneys cleared at least once a year, and the best time to do this is towards the end of summer before the colder weather hits. A lot of people, however, don’t bother to do this, often for years, and the result could be a chimney fire which might destroy your home.
“It isn’t just soot which accumulates in chimneys. Birds sometimes build nests or become trapped, causing a blockage, which is why yearly maintenance at least is important, as it’s likely you’d be unaware of any blockage yourself.
“Firefighters across the county have attended a number of chimney fires recently and the reason for the fire is almost always because the chimney has not been swept for some time.
“Chimney fires are long, arduous jobs which can also result in road closures, as the aerial ladder platform is often required to spray water down the chimney and this appliance needs a lot of space to be set up in.
“These fires can also go unnoticed for some time if working smoke alarms are not in place, because the fire would be hidden by the chimney breast, and if you’re not in the room or home at the time, there are no smoke alarms to alert anyone to the fire.
“This is why having working smoke alarms on each level of the home is very important and they should be tested weekly.
“If you don’t have working smoke alarms, we can help you out as part of a free Home Fire Risk Check. Simply call 0800 0241 999 to book one and we’ll come out to your property to talk to you about fire safety, smoke alarms and escape routes.”
You can also book online at http://www.staffordshirefire.gov.uk/bookyourhfrc.asp.