It is well documented that thatch fires are very difficult to put out. The thatch is designed to repel water which makes extinguishing such fires difficult. Although thatch fires are not a regular occurrence, when they happen they can be very serious. The information below will give you an understanding of the main causes of thatch fires and how to reduce the risk of fire within the property.
Main causes of thatch fires
- The majority of fires in thatched houses and properties start in the chimney. A fire could happen if the chimney is poorly maintained and not cleaned.
- Heat transfer from the chimney into the thatch is a major cause of fire.
- Poorly installed or damaged electrical cables in the loft area.
- Burning wet wood or other materials such as paper or card can create sparks.
- Embers from bonfires or barbeques too close to the building.
- Lightning striking the TV aerial.
Examples of reducing the risk of fire in thatched premises.
- A means of detecting fire, is usually by installing mains powered/interlinked smoke alarms throughout the property, including within the loft space.
- Installing Fire Extinguishers & a Fire Blanket for the kitchen.
- An outside tap with a long hose.
- Fitting a bird guard will prevent birds from nesting in a chimney and will allow the flue to function to its full efficiency.
- Regular maintenance & cleaning of the Chimney
- Installing sheets of aluminium that form a heat barrier between the outside of the chimney and the thatch.
Additional measures you can take
- Keeping bonfires or barbeques well away from the building.
- Only burn seasoned dry, hardwood
- Make sure all naked flames are extinguished before going to bed.
- Where practical switch off all electrical appliances not in use.
- Carry out regular electrical testing.
- Create a fire evacuation plan.
Fire Evacuation Plan
Example of points to highlight & include:
- Planning escape routes for all the family and guests staying at the property.
- Awareness of the location of Fire Extinguishers & Fire Blankets.
- Only attempt to put out the fire if it’s safe to do so.
- Document routine checks of fire safety equipment.
- Knowing how to contact the emergency services.
- Location of power isolation.
Insuring your thatched property
When choosing your insurance company and once you have insured your thatched property it is best practice to read and understand the terms & conditions of the policy. The policy will generally require that you install and maintain fire safety systems on the property. You will find that the policy will require that you adhere at all times to the prevention and reducing the risk of fire occurring in the property. Good record keeping of all inspections & maintenance of the various tasks is a must. Always inform your insurance company of any changes made to the property or incidents that may have occurred if a fire happens.
Fireline Limited would be pleased to offer advice on the best types of fire extinguishers & associated equipment for your property to meet the requirements of your insurance policy. Our field-based engineers are fully trained to carry out site surveys to give you peace of mind for protecting your property. Contact us on 0800 096 6761 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss further.