Plea to get chimneys swept

Taieri residents are urged to have their chimneys swept before winter after firefighters already attended one fire this season.

Mosgiel firefighter Richard Yardley said people were now using their fires and had probably ''let them sit over summer''.

''It is a good idea to get them cleaned at this time of the year, so that they can go into the winter and alleviate the risk of chimney fires.''

To assist chimney sweeps, who were often very busy at this time of year, people should not light their fires for two days before having them cleaned.

Mr Yardley said firefighters had attended one chimney fire this season and - on past experience - he expected more.

''As the season goes on we will have two or three more, generally towards the end of the season.''

The burning of wet wood created creosote - commonly found inside chimney flues when the wood or coal burns incompletely and condenses on the side of a chimney when it cools down.

Owners of woodburners could check for creosote by knocking on the flue and listening for pieces falling off, but the best advice was to get chimneys swept once a year.

Firefighters were also encouraging residents to put smoke alarms into bedrooms, ''and the reason for that is when we sleep our senses shut down so smoke alarms provide an early warning''.

Residents wanting help to install fire alarms into their homes can contact the Mosgiel Fire Brigade on 489-7999.

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