A recent regulatory notice has revealed that a major UK Housing Association breached the Regulator of Social Housing’s (RSH) Home Standard as a result of issues related to fire safety.
RSH’s notice said that they “had failed to implement a large number of high-priority actions arising from fire risk assessments”.
According to RHS, the failure to implement these actions established the potential for “serious detriment” to tenants due to “the number of tenants exposed to an increased risk of danger from fire over a significant period of time”
Despite them self-identifying the issues and informing the regulator, RHS declared that the housing association had breached part ‘1.2’ of the Home Standard.
No further action will be taken by RHS “as it has assurances that the breach of the standard is being remedied.”
The Housing Association’s interim chief executive said:
“It’s our responsibility to carry out risk assessments where necessary – and to then ensure that any resulting actions are carried out promptly.
“Clearly this hasn’t happened and we apologise unreservedly for that. We understand that customers will feel let down and they have every right to feel that way.”
Darren Baird, Managing Director of Total Fire Services said:
“In our experience the conducting of the fire risk assessment (FRA) is the starting point and not the end product. Understanding the fire risk management cycle is key. The responsible person has to effectively manage the actions from the FRAs through to completion and demonstrate compliance with the Fire Safety Order.
We specialise in such advice in the housing sector and have vast experience in working with several large housing associations. Our initial advice and consultations are free of charge”.
A fire starting in the home or workplace is something no one likes to think about, and we hope you’ll never have to go through this experience. However, fires do happen and you may be tempted to take certain actions, which could possibly put you or others at more risk. They might seem like a good idea at the time, but there are certain things that you should never do in a fire. We’ve listed 5 of them here…
Remember, a fire can spread rapidly and before you know it your escape roots will be blocked off. Never attempt to go back upstairs to retrieve something valuable, or to look for a pet. To make things easier, consider keeping these sort of items on the ground floor if possible, or securing them in a safe or fireproof box.
If you see smoke seeping through around the edges of a door, then do not open it. As this will add oxygen that will fuel the fire and possibly cause a fireball. Only open doors that you need to and close any doors that you don’t, in order to slow the spread of the fire. Before you open a door, lightly touch it with the back of you hand. If it’s warm, keep in closed.
When a fire starts you may be tempted to quickly try and escape out of an upstairs window, but this is dangerous as the fall could seriously injure or even kill you. Assess your situation completely first, before you take this drastic action, as it’s always better to get outside from the ground floor if you can. However, if the window is your last hope, then tie up some bed sheets to form a rope and throw mattresses and cushions out to break your fall.
Being confronted with a fire in your home can be terrifying, and you might be tempted to hide away under a bed or inside a wardrobe or cupboard, but this will definitely not ensure your safety. Not only will this limit your ability to quickly move and run if you need to, but it will also make it difficult for the fire services to find you once they get there. Hiding away like this will not protect you from a rapidly spreading fire, and will certainly not save you from the smoke and heat.
When a fire has just started, you may think that you’ve got everything in hand and that you’ve got plenty of time to react. However, it’s essential that you swallow your pride and call the professionals straight away, once you realise you can’t extinguish the fire on your own. Every moment you delay in calling the fire brigade will eat away at the precious time you have to save your possessions and property. Not to mention of course that every second can save your life and others.
Electricity plays such an important role in our lives that it’s easy to forget how powerful and dangerous it can be.
Each year, more than half of accidental domestic fires in the UK are caused by electricity. Usually, this is the result of misused products or faults.
Even the electrical items you use on a daily basis such as toasters and hair dryers can cause risks if used incorrectly or a manufacturing fault arises.
For this reason, it’s wise to take a few steps to improve electrical safety in the home and reduce the risk of fire:
Christmas trees, festive decorations, and candles can be beautiful additions to a home, but if they’re not used safely, they can quickly turn into destructive fire hazards.
It’s surprising just how quickly a Christmas tree can set alight and spread flames across a room. With that in mind, here are a few tips to reduce the risk of fire this Christmas.
It’s common knowledge that candles should never be left unattended, but many people don’t consider the dangers of placing candles near decorations and cards. If a decoration or greetings card was to fall from a window and drop onto the open flame, it could set alight immediately.
It’s also wise to be cautious of decorations placed near sources of heat such as radiators, electric heaters or fireplaces.
As easy as it can be to fall asleep on the sofa with fairy lights glistening on the tree nearby, all Christmas lights must be unplugged at night.
Avoid cooking after drinking alcohol. The risk of accidents in the kitchen is much greater when people have been drinking.
Don’t leave things cooking in the kitchen unattended. It’s easy to forget that you have a pan on the stove when you’re enthralled in your favourite Christmas film or you’ve fallen asleep after a few too many mince pies.
If you have multiple sets of fairy lights and other Christmas decorations that need to be plugged in, it can be tempting to fill an entire extension lead. But leads can easily become overloaded and increase the risk of fire in the process. Take a look at this handy overload calculator to find out if you’re plugging too many appliances into the same socket.
A fire risk assessment can be a great way to ensure you commercial property abides by fire safety legislation – all year round. Just contact Total Fire Services for more information.
The organisers of Fire Door Safety Week say that this year’s campaign was the most successful yet, winning the support of more than 350 individuals, organisations and businesses while reaching millions via press coverage and social media.
Designed to draw attention to the widespread neglect and misuse of fire doors, the campaign is an annual event run by the British Woodworking Federation (BWF), Fire Door Alliance and Fire Door Inspection Scheme in partnership with the Home Office’s National Fire Safety campaign.
The Fire Door Safety website has had 28,000 visitors since the start of the year – a 44% increase from 2017. Overall, the campaign is believed to have reached a total of 36.5m people thanks to 12 pieces of broadcast coverage, 94 pieces of media coverage, and thousands of tweets.
Hannah Mansell, spokesperson for the campaign said: “This year’s campaign reached a new high. Gaining our largest number of supporters to date, it brought together supporters from the construction supply chain, housing associations, fire and rescue services, action groups as well as members of the public.”
But, Hannah Mansell warns that even after this year’s success, more work needs to be done.
She adds: “Fire doors remain an area of neglect across the UK, with poorly installed and maintained doors regularly reported to us.”
Over the following 12 months, the BWF plans to continue its awareness-raising projects to further improve attitudes to fire door safety.
Fire Door Safety Week has issued 5 Step Check Guidance to help anyone wishing to improve the safety of their fire doors:
With coursework, exams, and nights out to think about, fire safety can fall pretty low on the average student’s list of priorities. But with data showing that those living in rented or shared accomodation are seven times more likely to have a fire, it’s important that both landlords and students take the necessary steps to minimise the risk.
Here are just a few ways to improve fire safety in student accommodation.
Landlords have a legal responsibility to keep their tenants safe. All landlords must:
Landlords must also follow electrical safety guidelines. All electrical fittings such as sockets and light fittings must have been professionally installed and all appliances such as cookers and kettles must be safe.
One of the most common causes of kitchen fire comes as a result of leaving cooking appliances unattended. So be sure to stay in the kitchen when food is cooking, rather than going into a different room to pass the time.
Another cause is oil igniting – often the result of a grill that hasn’t been cleaned.
Candles cause more than five fires a day in the UK, and many students use candles and incense to make their halls of residence or student flat more homely. To avoid a fire, make sure you always blow out candles and incense sticks before leaving a room or going to sleep. Keep them away from flammable items such as clothes, bedding or curtains. Battery powered candles and reed diffusers can make safer alternatives.
September is an integral month for fire safety because of Chimney Fire Safety Week. Held from September 3rd to September 9th, the campaign aims to raise awareness of chimney fires and encourages people to stop them from happening. September is a time for growing darkness and drops in temperature. People are more likely to light the hearths in their home.
In order to raise awareness for Chimney Fire Safety Week, we’re giving our tips on how to prevent a chimney fire.
When lighting a fire beneath the chimney, make sure it’s small. It will produce less creosote, which can build up inside the chimney and make for a potential hazard. A fire that burns brightly generates less smoke and soot, making it easier to control.
It’s important to clean a chimney as often as possible. Otherwise, creosote and soot will clog up the walls. These materials burn at high temperatures, increasing the risk of a fire breaking out. Be sure to consult the services of a certified chimney sweep. Annual cleaning will keep the space clear, providing better passage for smoke and exhaust gases.
To avoid creosote buildup, make sure you keep the fireplace damper open. This promotes steady air flow and prevents any restriction.
An invaluable tool for fire prevention is a chimney liner. The liner protects the structure against excessive heating, provides better air flow and passage for combustion gases. Not only is the chimney easier to clean, but the interior is protected from damage, reducing the chance of a fire.
When lighting a hearth, never use any combustible liquids or materials. They include petrol, paper, plants and even Christmas trees. The materials can move up a chimney and ignite creosote deposits, leading to a fire breaking out.
At Total Fire Services, we’re committed to keeping you safe in a variety of situations. Be sure to spread the word about Chimney Fire Safety Week and remember that the smallest details can make the difference in fire prevention.
When it comes to the workplace, staff should receive fire safety training in order to know how to deal with a blaze. The training might take the form of learning about different signs, what to do in case of a fire, or how to use an extinguisher. Not only does fire safety training prepare staff for the worst case scenario, it enables them to become accustomed to the layout of a building.
But there comes a time when the fire safety training policy needs to be refreshed. We’ve listed five reasons why this should happen.
When you hire someone new, don’t assume that they understand basic fire safety. This should be included in the induction process, so it may be necessary to carry out a new training programme.
Fire safety training certificate expiration
Fire safety training certificates don’t last forever, so there will come a time when they’ll need to be updated. Refreshing the training programme will keep your staff up to date with the latest policies.
If you’ve moved to a new premises then it may have a different layout to the previous building. This will require you to carry out a new safety plan, safety assessment and training. The new building may also come with a different set of hazards, so knowing where the exits are should be included in the training.
If new equipment has been installed then it’s recommended you re-train employees in how to use it, especially if the equipment differs from the previous technology.
If an incident happened within the industry that applies to your business, then refreshing the fire safety programme may be relevant. Extra training could be provided to ensure that staff are up to date.
As a general rule, fire safety training programmes should be refreshed every 12 months. At Total Fire Services, we provide a range of fire safety services designed to help businesses. For more information contact us on 01204 697 990.
Recently, fires broke out on the Saddleworth Moors, causing homes to be evacuated and heavy damage to the landscape. It’s a reminder that fires can happen anywhere and preparation is vital for blazes that occur inside and outside. Wildfires are capable of causing a lot of destruction. We’ve put together a guide on how to prepare for them and how to be safe.
If you live in the vicinity of a forest or grassland, then you should take steps to avoid a fire from starting. This can be achieved by removing combustible materials away from a property. This includes getting rid of any dry grass, brush or stacks of firewood and keeping them a safe distance away from the home. The recommended distance is at least 50 feet.
Try and avoid burning any of the material. It’s always worth checking local regulations and ‘burn ban’ restrictions. In certain areas you may need a burning permit.
Creating safety zones around your property is a good way to reduce the risk of a wildlife. You can do this by keeping trees spaced at least 10 feet apart and regularly pruning vegetation. Other methods involve trimming branches so they don’t encroach on a roof and making sure to clear the gutters of any debris.
Keep any flammable materials away from wooden structures, such as decks or fences. Avoid using the space under a deck for the storage of garden equipment like lawn mowers.
Even if you’ve done everything you can to protect your home against wildfire, you should still prepare a plan for the worst case scenario. Identify all the possible exit points in the property and remember to come up with an emergency kit. The kit could include a torch, medical supplies, a change of clothes, phone charger, bottled water etc.
Protecting against smoke
In addition to the flames, smoke is another factor to be aware of:
At Total Fire Services, we provide a range of fire safety services. For more information please contact us on 01204 697 990.
No one likes the possibility of having a fire start out in their home. Unfortunately, there are many locations within a house where a fire can break out, whether through equipment or circumstances beyond the homeowner’s control. The best way to deal with a fire is to have an extinguisher close by. With the correct fire extinguisher placement, you’ll be prepared to combat any flames that appear. We’re listing five crucial locations in the home to install fire extinguishers.
The kitchen is the most common area for fires, so it’s essential to have an extinguisher placed nearby. A lot of kitchen fires are started with grease, which have high flashpoints and can’t be put out with water. You’ll want to install a Class F fire extinguisher because they are designed to contain grease fires and emulsify surfaces to stop them from reigniting.
A good place to put the kitchen extinguisher is about 30 feet away from the stove. Don’t put it directly next to the stove, otherwise you’ll be reaching through the fire to get it.
A garage is a good place to store flammable materials like oil, paints and solvents. All of these chemicals are highly combustible. If you use the garage as a workshop then there’s a chance of generating sparks while using tools. It’s important to make sure you have a fire extinguisher in the garage to prevent any damage from occurring.
There’s a high possibility of a fire starting at night, so you may want to keep a fire extinguisher close to your bed. If you find yourself blocked by a fire then having an extinguisher in your hands will be useful for escaping.
Patios make a good location for a barbecue and grills are a potential fire hazard. A gas grill could cause a propane explosion, while a charcoal grill may start a grease fire because of cooking oils. Having a fire extinguisher in the immediate vicinity would help to put out any flames.
If you have a room for the laundry then consider having a fire extinguisher nearby. The lint that builds up in a dryer is highly flammable and could be set alight. Be sure to clean out the lint trap to reduce the risk of fire.
At Total Fire Services, we provide a range of fire safety services designed to give you peace of mind. For more information please contact us on 01204 697 990.
What they say
"Due to internal resource issues we at Chessington World Of Adventures were struggling to meet our commitments of having "suitable and sufficient" fire risk assessment for all of our buildings and Rides on site. Meeting the challenge of maintaining our continued commitment to having "suitable and sufficient" fire risk assessments in place for all of our buildings and Rides on site required us to search for a competent third party supplier who could deliver our needs at a reasonable cost"
Kevin Bainbridge, Head of Safety & Technical Services[mc4wp_form]