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''Don't give us the brush off, sign up to alerts and avert a fire'' say firefighters

"Don't give us the brush off, sign up to alerts and avert a fire" say firefighters

1 September 2015

Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) is launching a new free, email alert system to help keep you, your home and business safe from chimney fires.

Between 2010 and 2014, KFRS tackled almost 1,350 chimney fires around the county. From KFRS research carried out earlier this summer, one in three people who responded to a KFRS online survey* said that they hadn't had their chimney swept in over a year, if at all.

Head of Community Safety, Lee Rose, said: "Chimneys can turn into blazing furnaces when they catch fire, causing thousands of pounds worth of damage and putting your home, family and business at risk.

"We’re launching the clean sweep alert system – it’s safe and easy-to-use and you can sign up in seconds. It will send you a message to remind you to get your chimney cleaned and inspected if you haven’t already had it done yet. That way you can make sure it's free from debris and in good working order before you light it when the weather cools down. This will help to prevent fires and structural damage to your property."

If you have a chimney, open fire, wood burner, Aga or other 'real flame' appliance, it's vital that you ensure it is properly installed and serviced by competent engineers, so you can safely curl up next to a warm, cosy fire throughout the colder winter months.

Lee added: "The risk of carbon monoxide poisoning can occur at any time, in any home or enclosed space. Blocked flues and chimneys can prevent carbon monoxide escaping, allowing it to reach dangerous levels. Make sure you don’t get caught out by a silent killer. Proper care and maintenance will allow you to enjoy the benefits of using your fireplace safely and, as it will run more efficiently, it could save you money too!

"Don't take chances with safety, sign up for our free clean sweep alert and get your chimney and flues inspected and swept annually. Follow our common sense chimney fire safety advice and keep your home and business fires burning safely this winter."

Notes to editors

* KFRS survey carried out 19 June – 10 July 2015 through Surveymonkey.com and posts on Facebook

Chimney Fires broken down by area between 2010 - 2014

Ashford                   193
Canterbury              123
Dartford                     14
Dover                       118
Gravesham                31
Maidstone                157
Medway                     36
Sevenoaks                 97 
Shepway                    96
Swale                       126
Thanet                        48 
Tonbridge & Malling 101
Tunbridge Wells       200

Total:                       1340

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