Got a chimney or woodburner? Sweep it and clean it, before you light it

With the nights drawing in for autumn and winter, Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service is asking homeowners as part of Chimney Fire Safety Week 2019 (2 – 8 September) to get their chimneys swept by an approved sweep.

During the last 10 years, HWFRS has dealt with 1,831 chimney fires, an average of 183 fires per year and 15 per month.

While the positive news is that there is a downward trend – the number of fires in 2018-19 was 112, a reduction of 55.90% on 2009-10 – there is still plenty of work to do to reduce the numbers still further.

This year’s Chimney Fire Safety Week, as part of the Government’s Fire Kills campaign, is calling for homeowners to clean up their act. Neglect of chimney maintenance is the most common cause of chimney fires so the advice to householders is to get their chimneys swept by a registered sweep to prevent chimney damage, and, in worse cases, household fires.

Having your chimney swept regularly can prevent chimney fires, and all it takes is one phone call (to a registered sweep), one modest payment and one hour of your time.

To keep you and your family safe from fire:

  • Always use a fireguard to protect against flying sparks from hot embers
  • Make sure embers are properly put out before you go to bed
  • Keep chimneys and flues clean and well maintained
  • Never burn rubbish
  • Never use flammable liquids such as petrol or paraffin to light your fire

Station Commander Amy Bailey from HWFR’s Community Risk department said: “To keep you and your family safe from fire you should make sure you have your chimney swept regularly, depending on what fuel you burn, before the colder months set in and you begin to use your fire again.”

Station Commander Bailey continued: “A stove or open fire can be an ideal and pleasant way to keep warm in the winter, but without proper maintenance, a chimney can become dangerous.”

She urged people to make an appointment now with a registered chimney sweep if their chimney is due a clean. Further chimney safety advice and full details of chimney sweeps operating locally are listed on the Service’s website at under the Safety and Advice heading.