FIRE KILLS! – How to stay safe from fire in your home

A new video has emerged on TV screens warning about the dangers of fire.

The Fire Kills Campaign highlights just how quickly a fire can start.

Over 3,000 fires and 200 deaths every year are caused by something going wrong in the kitchen:

  • An overloaded tumble dryer lint drawer…
  • A tea towel left too close to the hob…
  • An overloaded plug socket…

Whatever the reason it’s clear that we all need reminding of potential causes and dangers of fire. And while 90% of households have at least one working smoke alarm , there’s no guarantee people will test them.

After all, when did you last check your smoke alarms?

Fortunately, Social Media is leading the charge for regular testing with Twitter using the handle – #testittuesday.

However, even Social Media Can’t reach everyone and vulnerable groups – including the young, students, and immigrants — are at risk of missing this vital message.

To help overcome this, the Home Office is asking landlords to remind tenants of their responsibilities.

Keep your tenants safe

While many tenants will probably be long-standing and can be quickly reminded of their responsibilities, many never check their smoke alarms.

HMO’S — House in Multiple Occupation — attract many young renters and students due to the cheap rents, reduced barriers to renting and the fact they’re often within walking distance of a college, university or significant hub of some sort.

But this kind of property brings with it added dangers of FIRE!

Why the added danger?

Many students or young renters are only in properties for short periods, especially if they are in part-time or full-time education.

Increased immigration has seen many people living in rented accommodation for short periods while waiting for permission to remain or until offered long-term housing elsewhere. There could also be an increased fire risk with immigrant tenants due to potential language difficulties.

So, landlords are being warned these vulnerable renters are more at risk when it comes to house fires.

What must landlords do?

According to law, landlords must install working smoke alarms on every floor of their property that is used as living accommodation – and must test them before the start of every tenancy.

Making sure all furnishings are fire resistant and comply with safety regulations are also part of your obligations as a landlord.

But, the responsibility for testing alarms lies with the tenant.

The government has produced a leaflet on the dangers of fire and on fire safety in shared or rented accommodation, which you can access on their website. These are the recommendations:

  • Plan and practise how to escape a fire and have a plan B that has been rehearsed
  • Be careful in the kitchen and never leave cooking unsupervised
  • Don’t overload plug sockets and adaptors – watching out for loose wiring, scorch marks, and hot plugs and sockets
  • Keep heaters away from the curtains and furniture and never use a heater for drying clothes
  • Extinguish and dispose of cigarettes butts properly

This is all sound advice that landlords should pass on to their tenants. Maybe make it part of any ‘move-in documentation’ to reduce the potential threat? Maybe display it on every floor of your property to reinforce the message?

The RLA has also put together a guide for landlords with practical tips on keeping tenants safe and guidance on fire safety legislation. They also run two fire safety courses, the classroom-based course Complete Fire Safety and the eLearning course Foundation Fire Safety.

A fire can be avoided. However, if the worst happens working and tested fire alarms can save lives. Yes, lives can be saved.

But if the worst should happen and you suffer a fire Imperial Claims can help. Please see the services page to find out how or contact us on the numbers above.

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