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Commercial Services
Thatched property
Press Release - Thatch properties to receive visits from Fire Service this week
Posted on 30/09/2019

During this year’s Thatch Safety Week, firefighters and community safety team members will be targeting 1600 thatch properties across Devon and Somerset.

There are over 6000 thatch properties in our two counties and fire crews will be visiting with safety advice and information for how to book an extensive free home safety visit.

Five hundred free flue-pipe thermometers are up for grabs for the first 500 thatch property owners to book a free home safety visit, as part of a partnership with Historic England and NFU Mutual.

Thatch properties are a high risk property as the roof materials will burn rapidly in a fire. Although thatch fires are not common, over 90% of thatch roof fires start as a result of a faulty flue or chimney.

Alan Gilson, Prevention Capability Lead said: "Through Thatch Safety Week we hope to give owners a reminder of what they can do to reduce the risk of fire to their property. One of the most important tasks is to ensure that you have your chimney swept regularly by an experienced and qualified chimney sweep.

"We are also able to supply and fit a free interlinked smoke detector for your loft space which will be linked to at least one other within your home.

If you don’t receive a visit from one of our members of staff this week you can still book a free home safety visit to your thatched property, please call 0800 05 02 999 and quote Ref 054."

Further top tips to prevent thatch fires

  • Never use a wood burning stove as an incinerator for paperwork and rubbish.
  • Check your chimney (and lining where possible) and have it inspected by a qualified chimney engineer.
  • Make sure the top of your chimney pots are at least 1.8 metres above the thatch, resulting in fewer sparks reaching the thatch. Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service do not recommend the use of spark arrestors.
  • Fit a bird guard to deter birds from building nests in chimneys. It is also important that bird guards are regularly cleaned and maintained.
  • Look out for staining of the plasterboard or wallpaper around the chimney breast.
  • Only burn seasoned wood: buy your wood at the beginning of the summer and store it outside in the dry.
  • Before going to bed, ensure your fire is extinguished.

Regardless of what type of property you have, you should also ensure that you have smoke alarms installed throughout your home.

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