Fire Safety Solutions: A Brief Guide for Landlords

January 15, 2024

Fire Safety Solutions: A Brief Guide for Landlords

Fire safety is a critical aspect of property management, particularly for landlords and building managers who are responsible for keeping their buildings and residents safe. Failure to comply with fire safety regulations can lead to severe penalties. This makes it essential for landlords to prioritise the implementation of effective fire safety measures.

In this article, we will provide honest and practical advice to residential landlords. This will focus on how landlords can improve fire safety across their buildings and protect their residents. Our approach emphasises the human aspect of fire safety and the importance of communicating with residents to develop tangible and effective fire safety solutions.

We don’t believe in taking a tick box approach, we want to make a real difference and improve health and safety across all residential buildings. Our motto is that it’s about the people as well as the paperwork—you need both these elements to achieve true building safety.

3 Key Fire Safety Considerations for Landlords

Although it may sound like simple advice, getting landlords to engage and communicate with their residents is such an important part of fire safety. Providing residents with the right fire safety information is key in reducing risk and improving resident safety.

1.     Providing Clear Information on Evacuation and Emergency Procedures

Communication with residents is a vital part of ensuring health and safety. When it comes to fire safety, landlords must keep building occupants are well-informed about evacuation and emergency procedures. In doing this, landlords empower their residents to be fully prepared in the event of a fire. This includes providing clear, easily accessible information on escape routes, assembly points, and the location of firefighting equipment such as fire extinguishers.

There are a few different ways that this information can be provided, from speaking with residents directly to sending regular emails and updates. It may also be a good idea to have a notice board on each floor of the building with all the relevant information and safety procedures. Regular drills and training can also help familiarise residents with the necessary actions to take in case of a fire.

Engaging with the people who live in your building is one of the most important roles as a landlord. Empowering residents to take charge of their own safety is not only for their sake, but to ensure you remain compliant and avoid legal pitfalls. It is a landlord’s legal duty to inform residents about the building’s fire doors in communal areas and individual dwellings. Of course, this information will differ depending on the type of building. For example, if you are the landlord of a high-rise buildings, there are often balconies in many of the flats. In this case, you would need to outline specific fire safety guidance around smoking or having barbeques on balconies.

Ultimately, it’s all about being engaged and asking questions. What risks do your residents need to be aware of? How can you help them protect themselves? What information will keep them safe? This all needs to be considered to comply with the latest legislation.

2. Identifying Disabled or Vulnerable Residents

Identifying disabled or vulnerable persons within your building is extremely important. Residents who have disabilities may be more vulnerable in the event of a fire as it may be more difficult to evacuate quickly.

It is crucial for landlords to identify and understand the needs of these residents who may require additional support during an emergency. Although this includes individuals with disabilities, it could also include pregnant people, or even those who have recently undergone surgery. Engaging in open communication with residents can help landlords determine who is most at risk—this will allow them to develop tailored support plans to ensure their safety in the event of a fire.

The most important question to ask here is: can these vulnerable residents self-evacuate in case of an emergency? If the answer is no, the landlord needs to consider what risk mitigation measures need to be in place. With an evacuation plan in place, the landlord can inform the fire brigade of who the disabled persons are and where to find them if there is a fire. By knowing your residents and understanding who is most at risk, landlords can put remedial measures in place and ensure all residents are suitably supported in the event of a fire.

3. Provide Safe Storage for E-Scooters & E-Bikes

Electric Powered Personal Vehicles (EPPVs) become increasingly popular in recent years, so it’s important to understand the fire risks they pose.  E-scooters and e-bikes have become common modes of transport, but unfortunately they pose a threat to public safety.

If EPPVs are involved in a fire, the lithium batteries burn very quickly at high temperatures. They also generate many dangerous chemicals including carbon monoxide and hydrogen cyanide. In 2023, nine people died in fires that were related to e-bikes and EPPVs, with lithium batteries reigniting fires that were put out by the London Fire Brigade.

When it comes to building safety, e-scooters have raised serious safety concerns. To reduce the risk of fire, landlords should be providing safe and designated storage spaces for e-scooters. These spaces should come equipped with charging points in secure locations to minimise the risk of potential fire hazards. Landlords should also be giving safety advice to residents about where to store and charge their EPPVs.

Guidance from the London Fire Brigade suggests that:

  • E-scooters & e-bikes shouldn’t be stored in escape routes.
  • EPPVs should be charged and stored in a dedicated external location.
  • EPPVs should be stored in a room with good ventilation, or failing that, an AOV.

By addressing these concerns, landlords can contribute to reducing the fire safety risks associated with e-scooter and e-bike storage in their properties.

For landlords, engaging with residents is the key to the implementation of an effective fire safety. Understanding and communicating with your residents is a huge part of providing tailored fire safety solutions that protect human life.

While it may seem overwhelming to navigate the complexities of fire safety, taking the first step by working with a reputable fire safety consultancy is crucial. It is not only about creating plans and organising paperwork but also incorporating the human touch. To make a real impact and improve building safety, landlords must prioritise connecting with their residents and ensuring they feel safe and heard.

By practising open communication, engaging with professional fire safety consultants, and being proactive, landlords can significantly enhance the fire safety standards within their properties. As well as safeguarding residents, you also need to make sure your business is compliant with regulatory requirements.

fire-safety-solutions-landlord-compliance

What William Martin Can Provide to Help Landlords Ensure Fire Safety

As an organisation who put people first, William Martin offers comprehensive fire risk assessments to identify the key areas within a building that require improvement and ensure resident safety. Additionally, we can assist landlords in developing customised evacuation and emergency plans, providing practical support to enhance fire safety measures across their properties.

If you’re ready to improve overall compliance and ensure building safety, GET IN TOUCH WITH US TODAY!

Contact

At William Martin, we bring unparalleled health & safety expertise and powerful technology to the table. Whatever your sector and wherever you are, we give you the support you need to keep compliant, strong, and successful. For all enquiries, please contact us or call our team on 0203 819 8829.

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