In 2011, two tenants were killed when a fire tore through the property they rented in Walthomstow, London. The fire could have easily been avoided had their landlord, Muhammad Ashraf, installed fire detectors, smoke alarms, and fire-fighting equipment, all of which could can been highlighted in a Fire Risk Assessment. Ashraf was ordered to pay more than £22,000 in costs and given a six-month suspended sentence for the deaths of his tenants.
This is just one of many tragic cases where a landlord’s inability to implement basis fire safety precautions has led to the deaths of their tenants.
Every landlord has a responsibility to ensure their rental property is safe and tenants are protected from potential hazards and dangers. By failing to implement fire safety precautions you could be criminally prosecuted under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) order 2005.
If you want to protect your tenants and property from fire but you’re unsure where to start, here’s our fire safety guide for landlords.
It’s vital that you regularly carry out a fire risk assessment. By identifying any potential hazards, you can implement necessary precautions and minimise the risk of fire.
Although you may be able to conduct this fire risk assessment yourself, it’s often wise to recruit a fire safety professional to help. They’ll know exactly what to look for and they’ll be able to spot potential hazards you may overlook.
All landlords are required by law to install smoke detectors to every storey of each property they let out. You’ll also need to have carbon monoxide alarms in rooms with fireplaces or wood burners.
It’s vital that all tenants within the property are able to escape in the event of a fire. If your tenant becomes trapped, the consequences could be fatal. Many landlords have been prosecuted for failing to provide tenants with a suitable means of escape in a fire.
If you provide furnished or partly-furnished properties, you’re legally required to ensure all furniture and furnishings you provide are fire safe. White goods must also be checked, if they’re supplied by you.
Some landlords are required by law to install fire doors throughout their rental properties, while for other landlords it’s simply a wise precaution. You can find out which rules apply to your property through gov.uk.
A fire door can help to compartmentalise a fire and prevent it from travelling from room to room. Not only can this protect your property and its contents from damage, it can also save lives. So even if you aren’t legally required to install fire doors to your rental property, it may be wise to introduce them anyway.
By ensuring that you fulfil legal requirements and exceed expectations, not only can you protect your property from damage and avoid fines and prosecution, you can save lives too. Fire safety in rental properties is not something to be taken lightly, so if you need any advice or to book a Fire Risk Assessment in Manchester or any surrounding area in the North of England please get in touch with the team at Total Fire Services.
Whilst it is of course important for all parents to teach young children fire safety tips, it is equally necessary that this information is presented in a way which is understandable and memorable.
When it comes to fire deaths, one of the most at-risk groups of children are those under the age of 4, accounting for nearly half of all child fire fatalities. Equally shocking is the fact that children of this age are also the most likely group to have started a fire in the first place, so it is therefore vital that respect for fire is taught alongside the measures needed to escape one.
With that in mind here are a few fire safety tips for parents with young children:
A clean and tidy workplace helps combat a range of different threats, and if your workplace handles a lot of flammable material this could be the difference between a minor threat and a catastrophic blaze. Whether you’re dealing with oily rags or stacks of paper filing, make sure everything is stored safely and away from naked flames.
A huge number of fires in workplace premises can be traced back to faulty wiring and electrical equipment. If your team contains someone qualified to repair electrical equipment, ensure they keep on top of any known issues. If not, book in regular inspections and PAT testing to avoid the risk of electrical fire. You should also maintain the safe operation of your site’s equipment, and prevent overheating or sparking wherever possible.
If there is an emergency and you need to shut down a particular machine, the last thing you want to be doing is shifting boxes or equipment out of the way before you can even get to the control panel. Keep a clear line of access and sight to any control panels within your premises, and preferably have them visibly marked to enable swift identification at a moment’s notice.
Many workplaces might not feel this particular point applies to them, but flammable chemicals can be found in most workplaces in the form of printing supplies and the products stocked in your cleaner’s cupboard. Follow all documented advice which comes on both the label and any material safety data sheets you may have for these items.
Workplace environments containing high levels of flammable liquid vapour or fine particles are highly susceptible to ignition, and should be treated as such even when the flammable material is bottled, as with oxygen in nursing homes of hospitals. Avoid the use of sparking tools in such environments, control the emission of static electricity if possible, and always designate it a no-smoking area.
A team of educated and observant employees is your biggest ally in achieving fire safety for the workplace. Knowing the best course of action in an emergency can help prevent major disasters and unnecessary loss of life and infrastructure, so it is imperative that all employees, both new and old; are retrained in your workplace’s fire safety procedures as often as possible.
One of the most important parts of fire safety training concerns exit procedures in the event of fire. Make fire drills a regular part of your workplace schedule, and ensure that your employees treat each one with the respect it deserves. You may also wish to appoint a dedicated fire marshal to oversee the correct observance of every fire drill, and ensure that any employees who disregard its importance are re-educated in fire safety to prevent further lapses.
Anything which may be needed in the event of a fire should not be obstructed or covered in any way at any time. This includes fire extinguishers shoved behind desks, fire escapes blocked by machinery, and sprinkler systems obstructed by decorations or other such material.
Smoke alarms should be fitted throughout your building and tested at regular intervals, with their batteries replaced annually. You should also make sure that you have the right fire-fighting equipment relevant to the threats present in every room. Different types of fire require vastly different approaches in order to tackle them effectively, so as part of your fire safety training ensure that your staff not only have access to the right kind of extinguisher, but that they also know how to use them.
At Total Fire Services we use a 160-question audit process, combined with many years of fire safety experience. This ensures that our clients’ premises are adequately assessed for fire risks to life, property and business continuity. A full and detailed consultation is available following the fire risk assessments to discuss any significant findings and required actions to achieve a satisfactory standard of fire safety within your organisation.
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]