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Bonfire Night Tips for Thatched Property Owners

Remember, remember the 5th of November? For some people, there’s no forgetting. This includes thatched property owners, many of whom worry about the risk to their roofs from bonfires and fireworks.

Indeed, with fireworks so easy to buy these days, the season extends from Halloween through to Diwali, New Year and into Chinese New Year. 

While it may cause concern, it’s worth remembering that the likelihood of a Bonfire-Night thatch accident is slim. Thatch is often damp in autumn and winter and should be packed so tightly that it’s quite hard to set alight with a stray ember or spark.

However, fire prevention is undoubtedly better than cure. Read on for some brief pointers on how you should prepare for Bonfire Night.

Check your insurance policy

First and foremost, look at your insurance policy and any specific clauses covering fireworks, bonfires, 5th November etc. Make sure cover is in force and all details up to date.

Your thatched roof insurance policy should cover fire damage, including that caused by stray sparks and fireworks. Read the wording carefully and, if you’re in any doubt whatsoever, contact your insurer or broker for peace of mind.

Do your calculations

If you’re set on lighting a bonfire or letting off fireworks, do it as far away as possible from your thatched property – preferably more than 100m away. This should minimise the chance of sparks, rogue fireworks or other matter landing on the thatch.

Never add an accelerant to a fire to get it going or pep it up. Always check the wind direction, so the prevailing wind will take any sparks, embers or stray fireworks away from the house. If it’s generally gusty, consider postponing for a few days.

Protect your home

It never hurts to be prepared. Have a long hose, connected to a tap, nearby. It should be as long as possible, preferably capable of reaching around the house. Even better, aim to have one front and back.

It might sound obvious, but ensure you know where the nearest hydrant or water source is. That way you can tell the fire brigade if they do need to come out.

November weather can be cool and damp but, if there’s been no rain, consider giving the thatch a good soaking with a hose. This should reduce the chances of sparks catching light.

Still concerned? There are fire safety products available to limit fire risk, including specialist fire retardants for thatched roofs.

Communication is key

Take a look at the community Facebook page, shop noticeboard and residents’ association website, or ask around, to see who is having a bonfire or fireworks. That way you’ll know if there’s anything happening close to home.

Have a chat with the neighbours and be honest about your concerns. Explain it’s a worrying time of year and make sure they’re aware of the potential dangers of bonfires and fireworks to thatched buildings. They’re likely to understand and take precautions into consideration.

Raise the alarm

Be sure to test your smoke alarms regularly, not just in November! If the alarm is raised early, the damage may not be catastrophic.

Be vigilant

If you can, stay at home on 5th November, just in case the unthinkable happens. That way, problems can be tackled immediately.

In addition, as with other high days and holidays, an empty house can be an irresistible target for burglars. If you do pop out, make sure you’ve locked everything up.

Get in touch

One Broker understands the challenges of thatched property owners and has the knowledge to provide adequate protection.

Get in touch with our team if you have any questions about bonfire night or thatched property insurance in general.

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