Thatch fires can be caused by a number of factors, these can include: ejected embers, chimney fires, failures in chimney brickwork/mortar, electrical faults or external factors like fireworks or sky lanterns. Although thatch fires are not common, over 90% of thatch roof fires start as a result of a faulty flue or chimney. The thatch is designed to repel water which makes extinguishing these fires difficult, therefore prevention is essential. See our Thatched Living Pack for guidance.
Poorly maintained chimneys can deteriorate to the point where smoke and hot gases can escape from the chimney into the upper rooms, the roof space, or directly into the thatch.
Regular sweeping of chimneys will remove soot, bird nests, cobwebs and other blockages. Having your chimney swept by a professional registered chimney sweep will remove creosote which can help to prevent a chimney fire.
You can find a local chimney sweep by visiting the National Association of Chimney Sweeps website.
If you’re using a wood-burning stove, ensure that it’s installed and checked by an approved installer as they can provide advice and guidance regarding its operation and safe working limits. Introducing too much air (over firing) into a stove can increase the velocity of fire gases travelling up the flue, which increases the risk of ejecting an ember from the chimney top.
For heat appliances, ensure you use an approved HETAS registered installer: find advice and your nearest installer here.
Always check with your insurance provider about your level of cover and any extra precautions they require you to carry out.
Not following your policy could have devastating financial consequences. Remember you may have two separate insurance policies with different companies, one for the building and one for contents. Ensure you check both policies and make sure any valuables are listed.
If a fire occurs – get out, stay out, call 999…
In an emergency, identifying precisely where help is needed is critical. If you cannot describe exactly where you are, we recommend you download the what3words app for iOS and Android or visit the online map at what3words.com. This has divided the world into 3 metre squares and given each square a unique combination of three words. The system works offline, making it ideal for use in areas with an unreliable data connection.
Visit the National Association of Chimney Sweeps Association website to find a local chimney sweep.
Download a thatch fire safety leaflet from the Thatch Advice Centre
Visit the National Society of Master Thatchers website