Mitchelstown Fire Brigade have issued winter advice for householders as the cold snap arrives.
Bob Dalton, Station Officer at the George Street base, said that thankfully chimney fires have reduced as alternative heating arrangements have arrived on the market. But he said the risk always remains and simple steps can be taken to reduce the risk of a blaze.
“It’s that time of year and people should clean their chimneys to prevent any issues. The cold spell especially can be a time to get calls regarding chimney fires.
“Our advice is simple, get a chimney sweep to clean it and place a fire guard in front of the open fire when you leave the room.
“We would also advise people to close the doors to the room where the fire is – keep it well supervised and obviously make sure children are kept away. A house fire is lovely and those simple steps will ensure that people are kept safe from the risk,” Bob said.
The Mitchelstown fire fighter said that the risk from chimney fires is less in new houses, however the brigade have experience of problems associated with older buildings.
“Sometimes there can be timber beams in and around the chimney shaft and also under the hearth – there can be problems there with smouldering that can cause a blaze.
“Thankfully we are seeing less and less of these fires now with most chimneys well lined, but it can be quite scary for people and they can cause a lot of damage, so just take steps to ensure that this won’t be a problem.
NO CHARGE FOR CHIMNEY CALL OUTS
“Also for elderly people, I would say if there is a chimney fire don’t be afraid to call us. There is no charge in County Cork for chimney fire call outs. Don’t put yourself in danger, call us and we will come and help,” he added.
Another key area for Bob and his crew is around the problem of electrical plug fires and he has some sound advice for householders.
“There is the occasional issue around overloaded plugs. Our advice is to use proper plugs that are certified safe. Don’t overload plugs with multiple lines and make sure that you can isolate the Christmas lighting.
“Candles are also an issue and they should be properly supervised to ensure they are not close to anything flammable,” he concluded.