‘Get a chimney sweep’ MLA warns

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Lagan Valley MLA Mr Robbie Butler has urged the community “to ensure you get your chimneys swept as soon as possible to prevent a life-threating blaze occurring”.

Assemblyman Butler, himself a former fire fighter for 16 years, issued his appeal to mark Chimney Fire Safety Week this week.

Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service revealing that of the 1,100 chimney fires it attended across the Province in 2015, 320 of them had been in the Northern Area Command, which includes Lisburn and Crumlin and covers a major part of the Lagan Valley constituency.

He added: “The importance of getting your chimneys swept cannot be understated. The figures released by the NIFRS show that there has been a steady decease in the number of chimney fires attended in the Northern Area.

“However, whilst I welcome this reduction and it is clear the message is filtering through, our fire service is still having to attend more than 300 chimney fires in the Northern Area. We need a zero tolerance level given the horrific dangers which chimney fires can create.

“A chimney fire can happen to anyone at any time. Other fire service statistics show that attending chimney fires represented 5.1% of all incidents the service attended last year.

“I want to remind householders that chimney fires can be easily prevented by getting chimneys swept, a number of times a year depending on the type of chimney and fuel you use, to ensure that they are safe and clean for use.

“Please also ensure that you have working smoke alarms in your home and test them once a week. If you think you have a chimney fire call 999 immediately and ask for the Fire and Rescue Service,” said Assemblyman Butler.