There is no fire safety legislation that covers existing homes and no government would attempt to legislate for the home – an Englishman’s home is his castle; an old adage but never the less a true one. The head of the household has a duty and responsibility for looking after the family. Consequently it is considered that no legislation will ever be required. However the common areas of flats and maisonettes are controlled by The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and this order lays down certain requirements. Check them out at the above link.
Please note: This article was written prior to changes in the Housing (Scotland) Act 1997 that will require smoke, heat, and carbon monoxide detection in homes in Scotland from February 2022.
Homes that have been converted to other uses, half way houses, residential homes and houses in multiple occupation are subject to fire safety legislation. When built, all domestic properties are subjected to the building regulations. Part B and certain codes of practice deal with all fire safety measures. There is an approved document explaining how the builder can achieve the requirements stated in part B but as soon as it is built the responsibility for fire safety falls on the head of the household.
The following is a list of priority considerations :-
- A fire escape plan should be the first consideration combined with smoke alarms.
- Any furniture should be fire retardant and meet the furniture regulations.
- Any highly flammable surfaces should be removed; flock wallpaper and polystyrene tiles are a couple of examples.
- The electric wiring system should be checked by an electrician at regular intervals and all sockets given a visual inspection for signs of burning or misuse.
- If there are likely to be smokers in the house, ensure there are plenty of ash trays. These need to be cleaned and the contents disposed of at the end of each day.
- Any open fires should be protected with fire guards. Never dry washing on them.
- Fire safety in the kitchen – always treat with great caution, especially pans being left unattended, and frying pans if they are used.
As to the costs, this falls on the occupier in owner/occupied property. It depends on the contract between the occupier and landlord in rented property but it may be worth checking the rent acts as there maybe clauses that could be helpful or contact the Citizen Advice Bureau.
The links below will give more detailed advice.
There are leaflets available to down load from the Fire Kills web site and they should be freely available from your nearest Fire Station. If you require the local fire station location contact the Fire & Rescue Service Headquarters. Details of the Headquarters are available on the UK Fire & Rescue Services page, then contact them or use the F&RS website for details of your nearest Fire Station.
The following guidance is based on leaflets issued over the years but still relevant today :-
Categories:Fire Safety at Home
April 1, 2011[Last updated: February 18, 2021]