Chimney Fire Safety Week is upon us (4 to 10 September) and experts are warning that too many licensees are using the wrong type of wood in woodburners, pizza ovens and open fires.

Risk management firm, Gauntlet Health and Safety, says over 5,000 chimney fires broke out in England alone last year and that a, "worrying percentage" of the fire risk assessments it carries out in licenced premises result in issues being raised in relation to "the safe use of fire."

"To date, it has been too tempting for operators to purchase wood from a local supplier in the village or nearby countryside, often as a goodwill gesture and an attempt to support the local community. This wood is often unseasoned wet wood, which burns inefficiently, due to having a moisture content of around 80 per cent," explains Gauntlet's Andrew Scott.

"This creates perfect conditions for a chimney fire, but also a blocked chimney, which can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning."

To ensure your wood is safe, wood suppliers have launched a new certification scheme called Woodsure, as part of which they have done away with the term "seasoned" and will instead label safe wood as "ready to burn".

 

WoodSureLogo

 

The Governnent-backed scheme means that businesses not using safe wood could be penalised for committing an environmental offence.

"The hospitality industry needs to quickly get its head around the new wood supply regulations and make sure that those buying wood for a venue's woodburners are choosing 'Ready to Burn' wood.

"If they do this, they will not only be on the right side of environmental laws, but also improving the health of their chimney and thus keeping guests and customers, not to mention their property, much safer," said Scott.