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Make a clean sweep for a safe chimney


As the weather starts to get cooler you may be thinking of lighting an open fire at home - but before you do, make sure you get your chimney swept.

Following a number of chimney fires in the region over the last few days, North Wales Fire and Rescue Service is reminding residents to make their chimneys safe.

In the last three years, firefighters were called to 920 chimney fires. In 2011/12 the numbers started to decrease compared to previous years - but people must remain vigilant as it only takes a particularly cold winter for incidences to rise dramatically.

An open fire is an ideal way to keep warm in the winter, but without proper maintenance a chimney can become dangerous. As winter draws in and more residents start lighting fires, the number of chimney fires increases. This year, more and more people may be returning to coal or wood fires in a bid to save money on their heating bills.

Last night (10th October) firefighters from Abersoch were called to a chimney fire in Aberdaron near Pwllheli at 19.29hrs and a crew from Llandudno was called to a similar incident on Bryniau Road at 19.55hrs - both caused by a build up of soot.

North Wales Fire and Rescue Service is urging householders to ensure their chimney is safe and have their chimney swept by a registered chimney sweep before lighting their first fire.

To make sure that your chimney is ready for the winter months ahead, please follow these top chimney safety tips from North Wales Fire and Rescue Service;

  • Always use a fire guard 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

Gareth Griffiths, Senior Fire Safety Manager explains: "With the colder, winter months looming, people will begin to start using open fires again.  In order to keep you and your family safe from fire, you need to take necessary steps such as ensuring your chimney is swept regularly, depending upon what fuel you burn, and I would urge all householders to have a working smoke alarm in their home."

Sweeping frequency recommendations:

Smokeless coals

At least once a year


Up to four times a year

Bituminous coal

Twice a year


Once a year


Once a year

Gareth adds: "Most chimney fires are preventable, but can cause widespread damage and can even be fatal. By taking a few simple steps you can keep your family as safe as possible in your home."

North Wales Fire and Rescue Service offers free home fire safety checks for all residents in North Wales. During a check, a member of the Service will come to your home, give fire safety hints and tips, help you to formulate a fire escape plan, and where necessary, fit new smoke alarms in your home - all free of charge.

To register, call the 24 hour hotline on 0800 1691234, or visit

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