Typically, this is going to revolve around the following – the type of heating you have, whether you have a chimney, if you have a multifuel stove or woodburner, the thatch (obviously), the electrical system and fire prevention and detection.
You will see below that some of these overlap, but we will try and capture the information under the best heading.
Historic England and an insurer funded the Fire Protection Association (FPA) to take a fresh look at the relationship between wood burning and multi-fuel stoves, chimneys, and thatch fires, and to recommend ways to mitigate risks.
The FPA Research
The FPA carried out a 2-year research program which included full-scale fire tests. The findings and recommendations can be found in the report here
The research established that wood burning and multi-fuel stoves represent a greater hazard in thatched roof buildings than open fires and as such are not a recommended form for heating.
Coincidently the research didn’t support the widely accepted idea that heat transfer by conduction is the main cause of fires in thatched properties.
One of the key fire risks in thatch fires is ejected embers and chimney fires.
Most insurers will want to know when the roof was last inspected by a professional thatcher and when it was last fully re-thatched. They will also want to know when the ridge was renewed.
Here’s a brief overview of the things that can be done to help mitigate the risk of fire
The thatch roof can be
treated with a fire retardant
fitted with fire boards
fitted with a fire alarm
fitted with a fire barrier underneath the thatch
should be lined
a heat monitor can be installed
an alarm can be installed
burn seasoned wood or kiln dried wood
Multifuel Stove or Woodburner
Noting the FPA research identifying these as a key area ion the cause of fire, we’d suggest grabbing a copy of the report to see what improvements can be made. To give you an overview, you could
Keep your woodburner baffles clean
Fit a Stove Pipe Temperature Gauge
The FPA report recommended the use of firelighters and kindling over paper and card, to reduce the risk of burning materials lifting when you are trying to get the fire started
The Electrical System
Have your electrical wiring inspected by a qualified electrician and adhere to the recommended inspection intervals
Fire prevention and detection
Smoke detector fitted in the loft space
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