Thatched properties and fire safety

More than 90% of fires in thatched properties are caused by faults in the flue or chimney – which are preventable!

Unfortunately with the thatch being highly susceptible to damage by fire it is extremely difficult to stop because thatch is designed to repel water.

We want everyone who lives in a thatched home to have helpful fire safety advice;

  • Most thatch fires start near the chimney.  Have your chimney swept regularly – twice a year if you burn wood – but don’t burn wet or unseasoned wood as this will lead to a greater build-up of soot deposits in the flue
  • Have the chimney brickwork and rendering checked by a professional builder.  If in doubt, fit a suitable steel liner.
  • Ensure that the top of the chimney stack is at least 1.8 metres (about six feet) above the ridge.  This will allow sparks to die away before they drop on to the thatch.
  • Spark arresters can help prevent fires, but they must be kept clean
  • Check the roof space for signs of vermin as these creatures may damage the wiring
  • Avoid bonfires – and make sure your neighbours are aware of the danger to your home from their bonfires.  Be extra vigilant around bonfire night.
  • It helps to have a standpipe, lagged against frost, with a hose that can reach all round the house
  • Fit smoke detectors in the roof space – these should be linked so that a detector operating in the roof space will activate the other detectors in the property
  • If you have any painting or plumbing work done involving a blow torch, be sure the person undertaking the work has a suitable fire extinguisher to hand
  • All electrical work should be carried out by a competent professional.  Wiring in the roof space should be checked regularly.

If you have a fire of any description, be sure to tell the operator that your property has a thatched roof when you dial 999.

Download the Thatched Property Safety Guide