Chimney fire avoidance tips from Tempest Restoration

Chimney fires

Advice on your active chimney maintenance

With the cold weather closing in, many people are looking to their stoves and fireplaces as a source of heat during the cold months. A fire can addwarmth and comfort to a home but how many of you maintain your stove? Having your stove or fireplace swept and maintained can avoid an unnecessary fire in the home.

Any person that uses flue appliances has a responsibility to maintain the appliance and flue. It is often stated that people should take reasonable care within the terms of household insurance policies and in the instance of thatched properties, the frequency of sweeping required is often specified by the insurers.

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We aim to despatch technicians to your property ASAP. We operate across the UK with technicians in your area providing a 24/7 emergency service.

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We liaise directly with your insurance company on your behalf and work closely with them to drive down overall claims costs and life cycles.

Waiting for us to arrive? Follow the steps below:

Personal Safety

Fire damage can cause structural damage so the less people in the property, the better. Be aware of obstacles and sharp objects within the property and wear personal protective clothing. We highly recommend that you DO NOT enter the property unless instructed it is safe to do so by supporting authorities. Soot and smoke are hazardous to health. If you do enter the building you need to take precautions. Do not eat or drink anything that has been in contact with the flames, soot or smoke as certain contamination will have occurred.

Environmental Safety

Ensure gas, water and electricity supplies are switched off at the mains, do not touch any electrical sources whilst in contact with water. Remember that the fire services may use large quantities of water to extinguish the fire. Contact utilities suppliers and glaziers if necessary. Secure the property if possible. Although fire damage can be devastating you need to be aware that you are still responsible for the security of the property and you should act to keep your property safe and not compromise the safety of it.

3. Limit Secondary Damage

If it is safe and easy to do so you should try and remove valuable items to protect them from secondary damage caused by soot and smoke. It is also a good idea to make a quick list of items that have been damaged. Contact your insurance company and inform them of the situation. Be clear and concise with them. Offer them a list of items that have sustained damage and salvage what you can. Once you have contacted your insurance company, call Tempest Restoration on 0845 052 4522 and arrange for us to visit the property to provide expert advice and service to return your home to its pre-incident state as quickly and as efficiently as possible.

Please note that Tempest Restorations services are not a replacement for the Emergency Services and should only be contacted after them and your insurance company.

Open fires and stoves are becoming more popular with the rise in fuel prices but these are potential sources of fire in the household. Even the most careful individual can load a fire up safely but without maintenance on the chimney and/or flue, you may have a fire ready in waiting.

You should ensure your chimney is swept reguarly and remind anyone who has an active chimney to get theirs swept. Chimneys should be swept according to the type of fuel being used as well as the activity. A chiney that doenst recieve regular sweeping can cause a blockage and smoke can back up into your room. Anytime a fireplace is used, creosote is deposited in the chimney lining or flue. Since creosote is highly flammable and probably creates the biggest potential hazard when using a fireplace, it’s wise to try and minimize the amount of buildup that occurs. Failure to remove creosote from the flue can result in a deadly chimney fire.

If you have an open fire, it is recommended that you use a fire guard to protect againse flying sparks from hot embers. Hot embers that fly from the fire can land on surrounding carpets, rugs and curtains and can start a fire very easily. If you have an open fire you should make sure the fire is extinguished prior to leaving the home or going to bed.

You should make sure that you use the appropriate fuel for your appliance. Some appliances will be suitable for wood only, some are multi-fuel. Always check your appliance instructions prior to using them. Failure to understand the usage of your appliance can cause a unnecessary fire.

Although a nice stack of logs next to your appliance may look comforting and also save you the trip to the store at night it is recommended that you never store the fuel next to the appliance. If you are burning logs you should look for a fuel that is 20% moisture content or lower – source your fuel from an accredited supplier or make sure that you dry out logs for at least six months prior to using them. With new installs its a requirement to have a carbon monoxide alarm fitted in accordance with building regulations. If you have moved to a new home with an active chimney and you don't have one, you should have one installed before you start using the appliance. Carbon Monoxide (CO) is an extremely poisonous gas that can be present in the fumes from the combustion of fuel’s which aren’t burnt under the correct conditions. Fuels such as gas, oil, solid mineral fuel and biomass all have the potential to emit CO. The gas cannot be seen, smelled or tasted making it difficult to detect. The early symptoms of CO poisoning are usually similar to common ailments such as upset stomach, tiredness and flu.

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FAQs

A. We aim to be on the scene as soon as we can. With technicians located acrosss the UK, you are never too far away from the expert help of Tempest Restoration. The longer you delay after your property has been affected by fire, the worse the damage will be. From the moment of arrival on site, we will begin the decontamination process. We work around the clock to ensure that fire damage and your losses are kept to a minimum. We aim to safely return your business to normal, as quickly as possible.

A. Damage caused by fire may look superficial but its the effects on materials that are not visible that can have lasting consequences to health and to the structure of a building. Potential hazards include asbestos and lead among others. Your home is full of porous materials and smoke can penetrate these materials beyond what is viewable by the naked eye. Our bespoke equipment and understanding of the uniqueness of each fire gives us the ability to detect fire damage and deal with it safely and effectively. Hired machines in the hands of inexperienced operators will cost unnecessary time and money in the long term. We understand the urgency of returning your home to its pre incident state and we operate quickly and efficiently to do so for you.

A. From your point of view, the quicker the process starts, the quicker you can be back in your home. Restoration work following a fire can be lengthy, it would be wrong to assume its a quick fix. Secondary damage caused by fire begins within minutes but can be minimised if dealt with promptly by a professional. During a fire, chemical reactions produce chemicals that are toxic and potentially fatal. During the time that the fire services are extinguishing the flames, the use of water (although required for putting out the fire) can unfortunately cause further structural damage and additional hazards. The contaminated area needs to be neutralised and rendered safe to prevent further damage and degradation. Potentially, every minute is costing you money.

A. During the combustion of a fire, chemical changes occur and environmental pollutants are created, many of which are harmful to human health. This seems fairly straight forward but natural and synthetic materials in your home produce a vast array of chemicals, depending on their makeup. Here at Tempest, we thoroughly assess the entire area using state-of-the-art testing equipment to detect any traces of hazardous substances.

A. Of paramount importance and priority is safety. Fire can, however big or small, cause structural damage to your home. Even past the point of the emergency services approving the site safe for entry, you should still proceed with caution. Every fire is different and unique. The location of a fire in your home can cause a chain reaction to other rooms, and sometimes it can be contained, either way the process of restoration is variable depending on many different factors. We assess each site to ascertain the extent of the damage and the precise actions required. We undertake a comprehensive risk assessment and survey of the property along with safety checks of power supplies to isolate any further damage. Ventilation of the home then removes trace of odour. Contents are assessed for renovation/removal and damaged surfaces are decontaminated and cleaned, neutralising odours.

A. During a fire the heat produced can reach thousands of degrees. The corrosive smoke produced is forced into every space and becomes trapped in porous materials, most surfaces will almost certainly suffer corrosion. Combustion will create chemical products that will be toxic long after fire is extinguished. During the fire, fumes and chemicals produced such as carbon monoxide are potentially fatal. It is essential that your home is decontaminated by a professional following a fire, you could be ricking your health if you don't.

A. Yes. A fire produces chemical residues during combustion. The combustion process releases harmful chemicals into the environment. In older buildings materials such as asbestos and mercury have fatal side effects when subjected to fire. These chemicals penetrate porous materials and surfaces within the building itself. Smoke particles can penetrate some places you probably didn't think of, such as your heating system. If left, they can remain for months in the atmosphere which can result in lung irritation and respiratory problems, a major reason for having a professional undertake the restoration work.

A. Given that each fire is individual and unique based on many different factors including location, time and combustibles, the damage caused and cost to restore is also variable. In order to limit these costs, it is essential that fire damage remediation commences as quickly as possible. The secondary damage caused to properties begins following the fire being extinguished and will cause costs to escalate if not stopped. Our swift response teams located across the UK can be on site speedily and act quickly and efficiently to ensure your losses are kept to a minimum and your home can be back to normal in a short space of time.

A. Our technicians are trained to the highest standards and are equipped to decontaminate fire and soot-damaged properties. We have been restoring, renovating and repairing domestic and commercial premises for over many years and have served hundreds of customers in across the UK, helping them get back to normal. We are trusted providers to many insurance companies who come highly recommend.

A. We operate across the UK with technicians available in major towns and cities. Our head office is based in Swaffham, Norfolk where we undertake all our training.

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