A thatched roof is always at risk from fire. Once a fire has taken hold in thatch it will spread rapidly.
The commonest causes of fire in thatch are:
- Electrical faults
- Faults within the chimney flue or flue liner
- Stray sparks from the chimney
- Discarded cigarettes and garden bonfires
Television aerials should be fitted on a freestanding pole. Where this is not possible it may be fixed to a gable or gable end chimney where the cable can be run down the wall, avoiding contact with the thatch. Disconnect the TV aerial during electrical storms to prevent damage to the system. Lightning conductors should conform to British Standard BS6651 1999
Safety tips to prevent thatched roof fires:-
- Never burn rubbish or garden waste near thatched property.
- Never light fireworks near the property.
- Ensure all smoking materials are extinguished and cold before disposal.
- Candles should always be placed in a secure holder and away from furnishings and curtains.
- Never leave cooking unattended at any time.
- Keep chimneys and flues clean and well maintained
- Keep electrical goods and wiring in good repair Switch off when not in use if possible.
- Use a bulkhead type light fitting in the loft space.
Keep the thatch well maintained and have regular checks carried out by a competent Thatcher. Check the Thatching Advisory Service website for information
Protect the household by fitting and maintaining smoke alarms. A smoke detector should also be fitted at the highest point of the roof void, if possible and linked to another alarm sited in the hallway or landing. For maximum protection fit a smoke alarm in every room (except kitchen, bathroom and garage)
In the event of fire
- Use your fire escape plan to get everyone out of the building.
- Do not attempt to remove burning thatch as this will only fuel the fire.