Fire safety advice event to visit Clare

The damage caused at a pub after a chimney fire
The damage caused at a pub after a chimney fire

As part of the Fire Kills campaign, Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) is holding an event in Clare to give people tips on how to reduce the risks of fires at their home if they have a thatched roof or a chimney.

This follows their successful events held last month in Walsham Le Willows, Gislingham and Wetheringsett.

Held at Market Hill in Clare on December 16, people will receive expert advice on chimneys, wood burners and safety and maintenance tips for thatched roofing to help make their homes safer this winter.

There are many thatched properties in Suffolk that make up an important part of the county’s heritage. However, thatched properties come with a unique set of safety issues when it comes to fire.

The four hour event is free to attend and open to everyone and starts at 10am.

90% of all fires in thatched roofed properties are caused by a faulty flue or chimney.

Last year, SFRS attended a total of 210 thatch and chimneys with a high percentage in the winter months.

Councillor Colin Spence cabinet member for public protection said: “The number of chimney and thatch roof related fires is slowly increasing in Suffolk and some of these incidents could be avoided by having the important knowledge on maintaining your chimney or wood burner.”

“A thatched roof is always at risk from fire. Once a fire has taken hold in a thatch it will spread rapidly so it is best to take a proactive step to educate yourself to avoid any potential dangers.

“The most effective way to save lives and reduce injuries is to reduce the number of incidents that happen in the first place.”

By following some simple safety measures it is easy to reduce the chances of a fire happening in a thatch roof or chimney:

· Ensure chimneys and flues are inspected, cleaned and maintained on a regular basis

· Ensure wood burning stoves are installed correctly and well maintained

· Avoid using spark arrestors if possible. If they are used make sure they are kept clean

· Only burn the correct fuel in the wood stove. Burn seasoned wood only. Do not use the stove as an incinerator.

· Check the electrics within the attic area

· Ensure you have working smoke detectors in the property