Fire safety and prevention: What you need to know as a property owner

According to Safelincs more than 37,000 household fires are reported every year in the UK- we can use this figure to help us protect ourselves, employees and tenants and loved ones in the future- in addition to your home and business. We can look back and identify the everyday risks we take on in our homes and the measures we can take to make our properties safer for everyone.

Additionally, in 2018 (According to ABI) a figure of £1.3 billion in insurance claims was been paid out to insured policyholders of fire damage.- thats almost £3.6 million a day!

Together, we can hope to reduce the number of house fires in the UK, aiding to prevent these devastating situations.

The first step to prevention is identifying the requirements one may have when dealing with fire safety and what you need to do if there is a fire present, other than reporting the fire to emergency services of course.

Emergency services tackling a blaze.

General tips to help fire safety and prevention:

Have an emergency escape plan in your property is a necessity, whilst also remembering to practice drills to ensure all occupants are familiar with how to act if there is a fire so everyone can get out safe and in time. Once out, inhabitants of the building should be at their designated fire assembly point, a legal requirement for businesses and landlords that all households should also follow so safety is ensured. Please visit the London Fire Brigade website for official information, advice and their support line for more information regarding this.

Furthermore, you can keep safety in your mind in the day-to-day proceedings around your house. Comfort items such as candles pose a fire risk depending where they are placed, so before relaxing remember to keep them away from any flammable items, such as curtains or clothing. This is also relevant for cooking as 2,340 home fires where caused by cooking appliances in 2019 alone, so awareness is key when dealing with your hob.

You can also purchase fire extinguishers for your property to aid you if there is a fire incident if safe to do so. The Fire Service lists the 5 main extinguishers to have in your possession at home; Water, Foam, Dry Powder, Dry Water Mist and Carbon Dioxide. Please visit the official Fire Service website for the specifics of each of these tools to ensure, if you do need to use them, you feel prepared and safe to do so as you don’t want to be further at risk during a fire.

Before Tackling a Fire:

  • If a fire does occur you need to position the extinguisher where it is easily accessible, examples include a hallway. However, they need to be kept out the reach of children and on a wall, such as away from a heater or fireplace. 
  • If using one, you need to ensure you are on the escape route side of the fire so you can exit the area safely after using your extinguisher. 
  • The extinguisher itself also needs to be of a usable size, as you will need to be able to carry it quickly to the scene of the fire.
  • When receiving it, read the instructions and be aware how to use the extinguisher as if you don’t then it allows for more potential damage if there is a fire.
  • If it is for a business, not your home, it is mandatory you get them serviced at least once a year- this is also true for letting premises, so this is vital if you are a landlord.

Fire Alarms:

It’s essential that you have a working fire alarm, as in 2018 38% of battery operated smoke alarms failed to sound during a fire, so routinely check if its is working like it should, with replacement batteries on standby if not. In addition, if you are a landlord it is a legal requirement that you install at least 1 smoke alarm on each story of your property and a carbon monoxide alarm in any room containing a solid fuel burning appliance. This allows tenants to know when they need to vacate the premises, if possible, to their designated fire assembly point. A comprehensive guide to the most recent UK fire alarm regulations can be accessed here.

Potential damage if you don’t take precaution as a business owner!

Risk Assessments:

Employers and business owners are legally required to practice fire safety risk assessments; they are similar to health and safety risk assessments and they can be both carried out as an overall risk assessment, making the process easier as a business owner. After the assessment and its findings, the business owner has to ensure all correct fire measures are in place to minimise the risk of injury or loss of life if a fire was to tragically occur.

However, households should do the same, even if there is no legal requirement- it only benefits a household to keep everything correct to minimise the risk as previously mentioned. Regardless if its a home or office, the assessment needs to identify anything that could cause a fire, such as any heat or sparks for example, and any individuals who are at risk. After this action is required in order to control said risks, reducing and managing them in order to minimise risk and harm occurring, with examples including having the correct fire equipment and employee or house occupant fire training and awareness. Detailed official advice and help can be found here.

Remember…

If your life has been affected by a house fire or any such insured loss then visit our contacts page and please get in touch. We understand how difficult the claims process is and we offer expert, compassionate services to ensure you are correctly compensated to help you rebuild.  

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