The Isle of Man Fire Service has warned homeowners about potential fire risks as it predicts the island will see more chimney fires than ever.

The warning comes as more of the population is anticipated to use open fires to save on energy bills this year, says the service.

Households should see energy bills costing less than in the UK, as the Manx government has frozen electricity prices until the end of March 2023, but they will be higher than last year due to the increases that have already taken place.

Firefighter Sean Bostrom has been vocal about the safety measures that the island’s homeowners should take this winter if they are planning to use open fires to stay warm.

He advises those with chimneys to get them swept by a professional before use, to reduce the risk of a chimney fire. Chimney fires are often not dangerous, but do require the fire service to attend and control the situation.

This means that the service can spend up to two hours on a chimney fire at cost to the taxpayer, and can be inconvenient for the homeowner.

Bostrom said: “It's very messy for the householder, and can keep us tied up for quite a while, it can take an hour or two to sort out sometimes... so it's quite a cost to the taxpayer too.

"If you sweep your chimney regularly, use seasoned logs and smokeless fuel and don't overload your fire, they're a lot less likely to happen."

Another safety measure that Bostrom suggested was to not dry washing on fire guards, as this can cause clothing to go up in flames - but he reiterated that fire guards are an effective safeguard for children and pets.