WINTER is here, and Mornington Peninsula firefighters are urging residents to check and service fireplaces, chimneys, fireboxes and flues.
Last year, Country Fire Authority and Fire Rescue Victoria crews responded to 192 chimney fires – with 104 in the coldest months.
“Chimney fires can quickly turn into house fires so the few minutes spent now could be one of the most important fire safety actions you take this season,” CFA chief officer Jason Heffernan said.
He urged households with open fire places to have chimneys professionally cleaned annually to avoid the build-up of creosote – a highly flammable black tar-like residue. “Creosote is caused by general use, but it can also build up more quickly by using green wood or treated timbers,” he said.
“Make sure to only burn dry, clean wood to reduce the risk of fire starting from a fireplace or wood heater.”
Chief Officer Heffernan advised residents to use a torch to check for creosote build-up or obstructions and urged them to extinguish a fire before going to bed or leaving the house.
Chimney and heating tips include having chimneys cleaned annually and gas heaters inspected and serviced every two years, placing a guard or screen to prevent sparks and wood from falling out, not drying clothes near fires and not having flammable items, such as curtains, close to a heater or open fire.
Children and pets must be supervised near all types of heating.