Statistically, homes with thatched roofs are no more likely to catch fire than those with conventional roofs if the owner is made aware and understands the risk of thatch fire. However, if a thatched roof does ignite, a fire, if not caught in time, is almost impossible to control and the results can be devastating.
The information contained within the Safety Advice section of our website is offered as general guidance. Before considering your plan for any changes, you should firstly speak to your insurance company and gain a full understand of their policy terms and requirements.
- Many insurance companies will also publish guidance and safety advice as do many of the Fire and Rescue Services. Additionally most Fire and Rescue Services will have a Fire Safety Officer, these are also a good source of information and in many cases will offer free site visits to help advise you further.
- Normal fire safety advice applies in terms of switching off unnecessary electrical appliances and lights and of course extinguishing the likes of cigarettes.
- Ensure that you have the correct fire extinguishers in the most suitable locations.
- Ensure that any tradespeople have the required qualifications and are registered to the relevant approval bodies. You should also check that they carry the required levels of insurance.
By raising awareness of common causes of thatch fires and by helping to promote the preventative measures that homeowners can take, it is possible to reduce the associated risks related to thatch fires.
Common Causes of Thatch Fires
Although thatch roof fires can be attributed to many different things, studies have been completed in to the most common causes and it is widely accepted that there are two main causes of thatch fires which are chimney related:
- Ejected embers & sparks from the chimney
- Chimney Fires
Many thatch fires have been accredited to wood burners, multi-fuel stoves, flue malfunction, insufficient chimney height and poorly maintained chimneys.
For many years, heat transfer was considered the main cause of thatch fires, however, recent research revealed that unless there is a partial blockage, for example a build-up of soot or a bird’s nest, which could divert hot gases through imperfections in the chimney stack, heat transfer is very unlikely to result in a thatch fire.
- See the chimneys.and chimneys, flues & fires page for additional advice.
- As with all matters relating to chimneys and mentioned throughout this website, you need to gain relevant and appropriate advice in relation to your chimney from the likes of HETAS and your insurance provider.
Our internal advice centre can offer comprehensive information with regard to thatch fire safety advice and preventative measures. We can also provide information relating to the most suitable fire barriers or systems for your property.