Essex County Fire and Rescue Service

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Thatch Safety

People living in thatched properties need to take extra care to make sure they’re safe from the risks posed by fire and know exactly what to do in the event of an emergency.

Fires in thatched homes can be devastating. Often they destroy the entire house and any belongings inside. That is why it is important that those living in thatched homes take a few extra precautions and know exactly what to do in the event of a fire.

Essex County Fire and Rescue Service has created a Thatch Owners Pack which those living in homes with thatched roofs can download, fill out and keep in a safe place. Once completed the pack contains all the information firefighters will need to tackle any fire as quickly and effectively as possible.

Divisional Officer Neil Fenwick, Community Safety, said: “The pack will have all the information our crews need to begin tackling the fire. This includes floor plans, information about where utilities, such as gas and electricity, are located in the home and information where the nearest water supplies are.

“This early preparation could make all the difference when crews arrive to tackle the fire. By taking a little while to think about it now, and then make sure all the information is in one place, you will save time when it is at its most important. The faster our crews can get to work the better chance they have of saving your home.”

Taking extra care and being fire safety conscious is more important in a thatched home. Our advice is:

•  Insulate the chimney flue to prevent the heat from transferring into the thatch layer. This is especially important when a solid fuel or wood burner is installed as they burn at higher temperatures than conventional open fires.
•  Have the chimney swept regularly by a qualified chimney sweep. A chimney in regular use should be swept at least twice a year.
•  Only burn seasoned wood.
•  Have the chimney inspected by a qualified chimney engineer.
•  If you have a spark arrestor fitted clean it regularly. This should be done every three months on chimneys in regular use and the arrestor should be taken down to clean.
•  Fit a bird guard to deter birds from building nests in chimneys.
•  Develop a fire plan for your home. Plan an escpae route so you and your family know how to get out of fire strikes
•  Smoke alarms should be installed throughout your home. If you have a loft space then an interlinked smoke alarm should be installed which is linked to at least one other within your home.
•  Be careful when using blowtorches or heat guns (if plumbing or painting etc)

Download the Thatch Owners Pack and Information Booklet from our website here.

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