A FIREFIGHTER is urging residents with open fires and log burners to get their chimneys swept and inspected before the winter.

The Essex Fire Service reportedly sees a spike in potentially deadly chimney blazes during the colder months and chillier weather.

With the hope of reducing the number of chimney fires in the county, experienced firefighter Nick Singleton has issued a warning to homeowners.

Among other useful tips, the operational and community risk manager for North Essex has urged people to have their chimney swept at least once a year.

He has also reminded residents not to not stack fires too high and to avoid burning resinous woods as soot builds up quickly, which can become problematic.

Maldon and Burnham Standard:

Watch Nick's safety advice video HERE.

Nick said: “Most chimney fires are preventable, so to keep your family and home safe follow Essex Fire Service's chimney safety advice.

“Always get your chimney swept at least once a year by a suitable tradesperson and they will issue you a certificate for your insurance company.

“Ensure you check your chimney in the loft for any signs of cracks or corrosion.

“If you have a wood burner, we recommend that you have a carbon monoxide alarm within the room to give you any early warning.

“Also ensure your smoke alarms on every level are tested once a week.”

For more information and safety advice regarding chimney fires visit essex-fire.gov.uk/chimney.