Winter warning from firefighters to check chimneys
On the first day of winter, Victorian-era firefighters urge residents to protect themselves by checking and maintaining their fireplaces, chimneys, fireplaces and flues.
As the cold sets in each year, Victorian-era fire departments saw a large number of chimney fires originating from wood-burning fireplaces and radiators.
In 2020, the Country Fire Authority (CFA) and Fire Rescue Victoria (FRV) responded to 192 chimney fires, more than half of which (104) occurred during the winter months.
CFA CEO Jason Heffernan said winter was a great time to curl up in front of a hot fire, and with a few little tips, Victorians could safely enjoy the activity.
“Chimney fires can quickly turn into house fires, so the few minutes spent now could be one of the most important fire safety measures you take this season,” he said.
CO Heffernan urged Victorian households to have chimneys professionally cleaned every year to prevent the build-up of creosote – a highly flammable black tar residue – that could clog the chimneys.
“Creosote is not only caused by general use, but it can also build up faster if you use the wrong fuels, like green wood or treated wood, so be sure to burn only seasoned wood.” and clean to reduce the risk of fire from a fireplace or wood stove, ”he says.
“Residents could also use a torch to check for creosote buildup or blockages, and we urge everyone to always put out their fire before going to bed or leaving the house,” CO Heffernan said.
Fire Marshal Ken Block said it was also important to ensure gas heaters are used correctly and safely. He urged Victorians to have their gas heaters inspected and serviced by a qualified technician every two years to avoid fire or carbon monoxide poisoning.
“The colder months are among the riskiest times of the year for home fires, and most of these fires are preventable,” said Commissioner Block.
“Taking a few moments to check your heaters and fireplaces before winter arrives could mean the difference between life and death for your family.
“It’s important to remember that regardless of the season, having interconnected smoke detectors in all bedrooms and living spaces can provide vital seconds to empower you and your family. , to escape in the event of a fire, ”said Commissioner Block.
Tips for the fireplace and heating
- Have chimneys cleaned annually and gas heaters inspected and maintained every two years.
- Safe protection or a fire screen should always be used to prevent sparks and wood from falling from the fireplace and causing fire or burns.
- Never dry clothes and never place flammable items such as curtains near a heater or open fire – make sure they are placed at least three feet away and constantly watched to reduce fire risks.
- Children and pets should be supervised near all types of heating. Keep a safe distance between children and the heater.
- Always put out open flames and turn off heaters before going to bed or leaving the house.