Essex County Fire and Rescue Service is calling for homeowners to clean up their act during Chimney Fire Safety Week.
Chimney fires in England accounted for over 4,200 incidents dealt with by fire and rescue services between April 2016 and March 2017.
Andrea MacAlister, head of community safety said: “All chimneys and flues need to be regularly cleaned and checked to ensure they’re free from debris and in full working order.
“A blocked or defective chimney can cause a chimney fire which can be devastating to homes as well as life threatening.
"So to keep you and your family safe from fire you should make sure you have your chimney swept regularly, depending on what fuel you burn, before the colder months set in and you begin to use your fire again.”
Top safety tips issued by the emergency service included having a carbon monoxide detector fitted, keep flue shafts clear and have a working smoke alarm.
Households with traditional fire hearths are advised to only use dry, seasonal woods and always use a fire guard to prevent flying sparks from hot embers.
Ms MacAlister added: “To make the most of your wood burning stove, ensure you are using quality woodfuel, maintain your appliance and chimney regularly and check you are using your appliance in accordance with the manufacturers’ instructions.
"If the worst should happen, working smoke alarms can give you an early warning, make sure you have at least one smoke alarm on every level of your home and test them monthly.
“Also if you have family, friends or a neighbour who may need our help to fit a new smoke alarms then please get in touch."
Call to book a free home visit on: 0300 303 0088 or book online: www.essex-fire.gov.uk/book.
For any other fire safety advice, go to: http://www.essex-fire.gov.uk/Home_Fire_Safety/