Thatch Advice Centre supports Chimney Fire Safety Week
In its 9th year – Fire Kills Chimney Fire Safety week is from 4th to 10th September. This year, we are supporting HETAS and Fire and Rescue Services and the industry by joining the campaign.
The Fire Services, HETAS, installers, chimney sweeps and us are all promoting the campaign to raise awareness. Government Fire statistics show that the number of thatched roof fires was higher in 2016/2017 than the previous year. It is imperative to get the up to date message out there.
Chimney Fire Safety is important
For those of you with thatch, the risks of a chimney fire or ejected embers from a chimney are proven to be the main causes of thatched property fires. Reducing these risks is a priority. That is why this Chimney Fire Safety week campaign is so important to us.
Important Chimney Fire Safety Advice
We re-iterate the relevant chimney points in our updated Thatch Fire Safety leaflet which are:-
- Check the integrity of your chimney. Damaged structure can allow hot gases/embers to access the thatch. Many professional chimney sweeps offer CCTV checks as well.
- Take care when lighting fires. eg use firelighters not paper and card.
- Burn seasoned dry wood – think about the new Woodsure
- Sweep chimneys regularly. Not just at the start but during the burning season.
- The greater the chimney height the higher the dispersal of any embers away from the thatch. Building regulations stipulate minimum 1.8m for woodburner installations.
- Spark arrestors are not recommended.
- Think carefully about a bird guard.
If you have a woodburner:
- Run your woodburner it per manufacturer’s instructions. Avoid aggressive burning and take care with any woodburners where their design allows excess venting.
- Keep an eye on the flue/chimney temperatures. If the woodburner is burning too high, it speeds up the flue gases increasing the risk of ejecting burning material from the chimney. If the woodburner is burning too cool in increases soot and tar in the flue and the potential for a chimney fire.
If you are lighting your woodburner/fire during when there is a sudden cold snap, be aware Your thatch may be very dry and therefore a greater risk from embers. If you have followed the above advice you will have reduced the risk. Dry weather conditions have also been mentioned in investigation of previous thatch fires.
More Thatch and Chimney Fire Safety Advice
Remember – thatch is notoriously difficult to extinguish once it catches fire so reducing the chances of it catching fire in the first place is so important. There are Thatch Fire Safety products which can be utilised to reduce the risks. However, assessing your individual property is very important and there are many things you can to to reduce the risks which just involve understanding and common sense.
The Chimney Fire Safety week campaign fits in so well with the work we are doing on promoting the best advice on Thatch Fire Safety as the major proven cause is ejected embers and chimney fires. So check and sweep those chimneys and burn fuels appropriately. Remember to read our leaflet too.
Thatch and Chimney Fire Safety Week
Be informed, keep safe and enjoy your chimneys and your lovely thatched properties.