South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue - Working For a Safer South Yorkshire

Twin sweeps say: Get your chimney swept this winter

chimney sweeps
03 January 2012

Identical twin chimney sweeps from Sheffield are backing a fire service drive to curb chimney fires, by encouraging homeowners to get theirs swept more regularly.


Brothers Ian and Geoff Cheetham, owners of Eckington-based I&G Chimney Sweep Services, have been up and down the county’s chimneys since taking over the established business last year.


Now they are putting their weight- and their brushes- behind South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue’s ‘Safe and Warm’ campaign, which encourages homeowners to heat their homes safely this winter.


Open fires, log and multi fuel burners still cause dozens of fires every year and with prices for gas and electric soaring, firefighters are warning people to get their chimneys swept before turning to these alternative sources of winter warmth.


SYFR head of community safety Diane Malpass, said:  “An open fire is ideal to keep warm in the winter, but without proper maintenance a chimney can become dangerous. The latest statistics show that there are approximately 6,000 chimney fires a year in England, of which more than 70 occur in South Yorkshire, but most of these are preventable.


“To keep yourself and your family safe from fire you should take care to have your chimney swept regularly, depending upon what fuel you burn, before the next cold snap sets in and you begin to use your fire and chimneys again.”


Ian, a member of the Institute of Chimney Sweeps, said: “All chimneys and flue-ways should be cleaned and checked regularly to ensure they’re free from debris and in full working order before the next cold spell. A blocked or defective chimney can cause both chimney fires and carbon monoxide poisonings so it’s very important to employ a professional qualified chimney sweep.”


Regular maintenance of your chimney will depend on the fuel you burn:  


Smokeless coals

At least once a year


Up to four times a year

Bituminous coal

Twice a year


Once a year


Once a year

Other tips for using open fires safely include:


·         Using a fire guard to protect against flying sparks from hot embers

·         Making sure embers are properly put out  before you go to bed

·         Keeping chimneys and flues clean and well maintained