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Check your chimney: CFA

Be prepared: Get your wood or gas heaters checked ahead of the winter months to protect your family and home. Photo by Rodney Braithwaite

The CFA is urging residents to check and maintain their fireplaces, chimneys, fireboxes and flues ahead of winter to prevent house fires.

“The colder months are some of the riskiest times of the year for fires in the home, and most of these fires can be prevented,” CFA Chief Officer Jason Heffernan said.

Chimneys require professional cleaning annually to avoid the build-up of creosote – a highly flammable black tar-like residue – that can clog chimneys.

“Creosote is caused by general use but can also build up faster if you are using incorrect fuels such as green wood or treated timbers, so make sure you only burn dry, clean wood to reduce the risk of fire starting from a fireplace or wood heater,” Mr Heffernan said.

“Spending a few minutes now to check your chimney could be one of the most important fire safety actions you take this season, and you can easily check for creosote build-up or obstructions by simply using a torch before lighting a fire.”

In 2021, CFA firefighters responded to 130 chimney fires, almost half of which occurred during the winter months.

Mr Heffernan said it is also important to have gas heaters inspected and serviced by a qualified technician every two years to avoid a fire or carbon monoxide poisoning.

“Taking a few moments to check your heaters and fireplaces before winter sets in could mean the difference between life and death for your family,” he said.

“It’s important to remember that no matter the season, having interconnected smoke alarms in all bedrooms and living areas can provide vital seconds to allow you and your family to escape in case of a fire.”