Thatched roofs are made from dry vegetation such as straw, water reed, sedge, rushes, heather or palm branches. The densely packed vegetation provides shelter from the elements and good insulation. Thatching is an old roofing method that was used in all sorts of climates. These days thatching is usually seen on the properties belonging to people who desire a rustic look for their home, would like a more ecologically friendly roof or who have purchased an original thatched cottage or house.
The Fire Risks
While thatching is practical and offers a traditional and rustic look, it is not without its fire risks. Contrary to popular belief, thatch is not extremely flammable, but it does burn well. Fire can easily become well established and, due to the nature of the thatching materials, produces high volumes of dense smoke.
Thatching is largely used for traditional properties that employ a traditional means of heating – open fires. If chimneys are not maintained well or sparks or hot embers reach the roof, they can easily cause a fire. A thatch roof fire can easily go unnoticed until it has developed beyond easy control, therefore, a reliable fire detection system is essential.
Smoke and Fire Detection Challenges
In order to provide suitable and reliable fire or smoke detection for a thatched roof, detectors need to be installed in the roof void so that they are close to the source. This means that traditional type detection would need to be coupled with a remote sounder so that the warning of smoke or fire can be heard around the property.
However, traditional type detection may be unable to detect the early stages of a fire – by the time the fire produces enough smoke to be detected, it may be too late.
Traditional type detection can also be affected by contaminants such as dust and dirt that are commonly found in roof voids or lofts.
Linear heat detection, such as FyreLine, provides the perfect solution for protecting thatched roofs from fire. Heat sensing cable can be installed in the thatch and around the chimney and can continuously monitor the whole roof area for increases in temperature. Linear heat detection is suitable for use in dusty environments and provides fast and reliable detection.
Until recently, linear heat detection could only be installed as part of a complete, hardwired fire detection system making it impractical for residential properties. However, with new hybrid fire technology from Wi-Fyre, FyreLine linear heat detection can form part a complete detection system, without the need for unsightly and expensive cable runs.
When standalone mode is selected, the Wi-Fyre Wireless LCD Transponder is transformed into a simple, menu-driven control panel enabling it to provide all the benefits of a traditional domestic heat and smoke detection system with wireless interconnectivity. You also get the added benefit of being able to view events and acknowledge, silence and reset alarms and faults.
Once FyreLine linear heat detection is installed around the roof, chimney and loft space it can be connected to a Wi-Fyre wireless Input/Output (I/O) device. The I/O device can monitor the condition of the heat detection cable and report it wirelessly to the Wi-Fyre transponder.
Each transponder can communicate with up to thirty wireless devices such as sounders, detectors and I/O devices that are necessary to form a residential fire detection system for a thatched roof property.
A wireless survey must be conducted, using a Wi-Fyre Survey Head, to ensure the signal between the transponder and connected field devices is strong enough for the system to operate efficiently.