Two professions - one goal
Chimney sweeps are lucky charms. But above all: they have always been active in preventive fire protection together with our fire departments.6 May 2022
Closely linked: Fire department and chimney sweep
Traditionally, they are considered lucky charms - almost 20,000 are on the road in Germany alone, and ten percent of them are women. Their good reputation is no coincidence: chimney sweeps were already offering their services in the Middle Ages. Their work was in demand. Even then, people knew that too much soot in the chimney could be dangerous and that a burning chimney could quickly turn into a devastating fire. It's no wonder that chimney sweeps and fire departments have always worked closely together in fire protection. At INTERSCHUTZ 2022, the topic will take up a great deal of space at the stand of the Federal Association of the Chimney Sweeping Trade ( Hall 13/D65 ).
The close ties between chimney sweeps and fire departments are demonstrated by the membership of many chimney sweeps in volunteer fire departments. An agreement between the German Fire Brigades Association and the Federal Association of Chimney Sweeps has reinforced this. Already with the younger craftsmen and craftswomen should the topic fire protection as well as assistance with the Firefighting in the consciousness move, stresses the organization. "I would be very pleased if, through the cooperation agreement, we could achieve that it would again be possible for all chimney sweeps to actively participate in their local fire departments. participate in their local fire departments," said DFV President Karl-Heinz Banse at the signing of the cooperation agreement. "We need you and your expertise!".
Preventive fire protection
"INTERSCHUTZ offers our skilled trades a great opportunity to present expertise and support in the field of structural and preventive fire protection and to strengthen the close ties with fire departments and other players in hazard prevention," said master chimney sweep Andreas Walburg, spokesman for the Lower Saxony state guild association. "Only together we are strong and can protect our fellow men in the field of hazard prevention. Two professions - one goal!"
Walburg cites the prevention of chimney fires as one of the many examples of preventive work. "There are up to five such cases in the district of each chimney sweep per year," reports the master. Andreas Walburg explains how such a fire can occur as follows: "If someone handles their fireplace incorrectly - for example, deprives the fire of air, uses the wrong fuel or the heating point is defective - so-called gloss soot can form in the chimney and settle there.
When this soot ignites, temperatures of up to 1,400 degrees are generated." To prevent this from happening in the first place, regular inspection of the chimney, as well as the fireplace, is important. "Many people are not even aware of the danger," Walburg says. "That's why it's good for us as chimney sweeps to get as frequent an opportunity as possible to report the dangers. A chimney fire can happen anywhere - in the village as well as in the city, in old as well as new buildings."
Dangerous: carbon monoxide
Often, he says, such a fire is not even noticed immediately by the residents of the house. "Then it is often passers-by who suddenly see flames coming out of the chimney," the master chimney sweep describes. "In such a case, the alarmed fire department then generally contacts the responsible authorized district chimney sweep. They inspect the chimney, determine possible damage and are available to advise the fire department." A firefighting water operation is considered taboo in such a case, he said, because of the risk of the chimney being blown up by the abrupt expansion of the resulting water vapor. "One liter of water produces 1,700 liters of water vapor," Walburg said.
A chimney must be clear and clean, according to the master chimney sweep. The expert cites prevention of carbon monoxide poisoning as another key area of cooperation between chimney sweeps and emergency responders. "Here, too, an intact chimney and proper handling of the fireplace are essential," Walburg says. "For example, birds may build a nest in a chimney, and then the flue won't work. Or: the boiler in the bathroom is out of order. The bad thing about carbon monoxide: You can't see it and you can't smell it."
It is not only preventive fire protection that is close to the hearts of the lucky charms: the black-clad men and women are also experts in the field of ventilation and energy consulting. "The chimney sweep trade encompasses many different areas," explains Andreas Walburg.
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