Residents urged to check their chimneys

The Country Fire Authority is reminding homeowners to check and maintain their chimneys and gas heaters ahead of winter.

The Country Fire Authority [CFA] is calling on residents, including those in Wyndham, to check and maintain their fireplaces, chimneys, fireboxes and flues as Victoria heads into the cold period.

CFA chief officer Jason Heffernan said all Victorian households should have their chimneys professionally cleaned to avoid a build up of creosote, which is a highly flammable black residue which can build up due to using incorrect fuels such as green wood or treated timbers.

“Winter is the perfect time to curl up in front of a warm fire, but chimney fires can quickly turn into house fires,” he 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.

“We also urge everyone to always extinguish their fire before going to bed or leaving the house.”

Mr Heffernan said it is also essential to make sure that gas heaters within the home are being used safely and correctly by having them inspected and serviced by a qualified technician every two years to avoid a fire or carbon monoxide poisoning.

“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,” he said.

“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.

“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.”

Other tips for chimney and heating system maintenance include:

* Use a secure guard or fireproof screen;

* Do not dry clothes close to a heater or open fire;

* Supervise all children and pets near all types of heating; and

* Always extinguish any open flames and turn off heaters before going to bed or leaving the house.