Essex County Fire and Rescue Service

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Thatched house fire safety warning

Following a thatch roof fire last night in Great Horksley, here is a reminder of how to stay safe in your thatched property:

  • It is important to 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 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.
  • 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).

We also encourage you to fill in our Thatched Property Owners Pack and keep it in a safe place at home. The details in this pack will give firefighters all the information they need to know about your property and in the event of a fire at your home, will enable them to tackle the fire more swiftly.

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