Fire Safety, Maintenance

Identifying fire hazards in the landlord’s fire risk assessment

Whilst there will always be some unavoidable fire hazards in the home, landlords can do a great deal to ensure their property is safe by conducting a thorough fire risk assessment before a tenant moves in.

In order to do this, it is recommended landlords utilise online resources such as BS 5839-6 –  a key standard for fire detection in domestic premises  outlining best practice for the installation and maintenance of fire detection and alarm systems in domestic premises and LACORS The Local Authorities Coordinators of Regulatory Services (LACORS) guidance (2008) which offers guidance for landlords and fire safety enforcement officers in both local housing authorities (LHAs) and fire and rescue authorities (FRAs) on how to ensure adequate fire safety in different types of residential accommodation.

As outlined in the LACORS document, for a fire to start there needs to be three things present: a source of ignition, fuel and oxygen. You should identify fire hazards in the fire risk assessment within these categories, focusing on ignition & fuel (Oxygen will be in the air).

Fire hazard ignition examplesnaked flames, electric, gas or oil-fired heaters, cookers and toasters, electric blankets, computers, TVs, washing machines and dryers, lighting equipment

Fire hazard fuel examples (a.k.a anything that burns):  furniture, furnishings, textiles, bedding, clothing and curtains, accumulations of unwanted mail, waste paper, newspapers etc, waste storage

Evaluate, remove or reduce risk, and protect against remaining risk

Fire hazards should be removed where it is practicable to do so, and where they cannot be removed they should be reduced as far as possible. What is considered reasonable in a particular case will depend on an evaluation of the potential to cause harm and the chance of that harm occurring.

These can range from installing fire prevention measures such as additional fire alarms, assisted living solutions like strobe and vibrating pad or alarm control unit, fire extinguishers and fire resistant doors, to installing fire escape notices (and educating tenants about them), or taking action to replace a situation/appliance with a better alternative e.g. replace portable heating appliances with fixed convector heaters or a central heating system.