It’s summer soon, and leisurely barbeques with friends and family held during hot sunny afternoons and lasting long into the evening are a true delight. But did you know that many insurers will have specific guidelines around any fires lit in the garden of a thatched home.
The correct distance of a barbeque, fire pit or chiminea is at least 5 metres 1 away from the property, however various organisations’ and businesses’ recommendations vary, so it’s worth checking guidelines with us so that your policy isn’t null and void. With nearly a quarter 2 of thatched properties attended to by the Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service over the last six years completely destroyed through catching fire, owning a thatched property is wonderful, but make sure it’s looked after!
Bonfires are synonymous with English summers with the crackle of burning cuttings and the scent of wood smoke but along with incinerator bins they should be at least 100 metres 3 from your property. Please note however, that we strongly recommend you check this guideline with us as insurance policies can differ.
Many thatched property fires have also been caused by fireworks and sky lanterns, which although wonderfully magical, can pose a high risk to thatch roofs if they are set off or released into the sky within the vicinity of your house.
Prevention is better than cure
The best way to avoid any risk of fire is not to have barbeques and bonfires if you own a thatched property. However if the lure of al fresco dining and outside fires is too strong to resist we recommend the following precautions:
- Keep an outside tap on-hand which includes a ready-to-use hose long enough to reach around the property and on to the roof.
- Fit smoke alarms on all floors and in the roof space.
- Let the Fire and Rescue Service know the location of your property and the exact location of the nearest usable water supply.
- Keep barbeques away from rubbish bins, mulch, low lying trees and hedges.
- Make sure your neighbours are aware of the dangers to your thatched property from their own bonfires and barbeques.
- Make sure the prevailing wind direction is away from your house before lighting a bonfire.
- Light your bonfires and barbeques in the evenings when the temperature has dropped and the outside conditions are cooler, lowering the risk of tinder landing on dry sun-baked thatch.
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