Chimney fires in England accounted for over 5,000 incidents dealt with by fire and rescue services between April 2014 and March 2015 last year. This year’s Chimney Fire Safety Week (5th to 9th September), part of the Government’s Fire Kills campaign, calls for homeowners to clean up their act and get their chimneys swept by a HETAS approved sweep to prevent damage, and, in worse cases, household fires.
Bruce Allen, CEO of HETAS, comments: “All of HETAS’ approved sweeps are members of one of three chimney sweep trade associations and have attended a HETAS training course. Homeowners using HETAS approved chimney sweeps can be confident that a sweep has obtained the necessary training to safely sweep their chimney and will be giving their home the very best care and attention.”
Peter Holland, Chief Fire and Rescue Adviser to the Government, says: “An open fire can be an ideal and pleasant way to keep warm in the winter, but without proper maintenance a chimney can become dangerous. Latest statistics show that there are over 5,000 chimney fires a year in England, but most of these are preventable.”
One of HETAS’ Approved Chimney Sweeps, 22 year old Emily Skeet, explains that sweeping is a quick and hassle-free process for homeowners: “A normal sweep will take me about an hour and a half as I like to have a good chat with the client about their appliance. Contrary to what many people may think, I don’t make a mess. I use modern methods and tools such as a power-sweeping, CCTV and vacuums to ensure minimal disturbance for the homeowner.”
Emily set up her own sweeping business three years ago and carries out up to six sweeps a day. She adds: “People wouldn’t think twice about getting their cars MOT’d, but home appliances often get neglected. It might not be on the top of everyone’s to-do lists, but you really can’t afford to risk leaving these things unattended.”