Landlords urged to act on new fire safety laws

Avon Fire & Rescue Service (AF&RS) is offering local landlords the opportunity to receive free smoke and carbon monoxide alarms ahead of the introduction of new fire safety laws later this year.

The regulations make it compulsory for all landlords to fit smoke alarms in rented homes and, subject to Parliamentary approval, are expected to come into effect during October 2015.

Under new laws, which are expected to save hundreds of lives, smoke alarms must be fitted on every floor of the property as well as carbon monoxide alarms in properties which burn solid fuels. Landlords must check the alarms are working at the start of every new tenancy with potential penalties of up to £5,000 if they don’t comply.

To help landlords gear up for the new regulations the Government has provided AF&RS with a limited number of free smoke and carbon monoxide alarms to give out to landlords.

A series of events will be held across the area at which the alarms will be provided to landlords to install in their properties.

The sessions will be held at fire stations in Bath, Weston-super-Mare, Yate and Patchway as well as at the Service’s Headquarters in Bristol.

Members of the Service’s Technical Fire Safety team will be available to provide advice at each site between 10.00hrs and 14.00hrs on Tuesdays 30 June, 14 July, 11 August, 1 September and 29 September.

Group Manager Matt Peskett, Head of Technical Fire Safety said: “We are keen to work with local landlords to improve the safety of tenants across our area.

“We would urge those landlords who need to take action to comply with the new regulations to attend one of our free events, visit our website or call us on 0117 926 2061.”

The Chief Fire Officers’ Association (CFOA) has been campaigning for over two years for the legislation to be introduced and presented key evidence and research into the Government’s national review of the issue.

Mark Cashin, Chair of CFOA’s Home Safety Committee said: “While deaths and injuries from fires have reduced considerably in recent years, the majority of victims continue to be those who are most vulnerable, often living in private rented accommodation.

“We are delighted that the Government has worked with us to bring in these new laws which will improve the safety of families and stop dozens of people from losing their lives to fire each year. We also welcome their £3 million in funding which will ensure nearly 500,000 smoke and carbon monoxide alarms will be installed in the coming months.”

While overall smoke alarm ownership in the country stands at around 90%, those living in private rented homes are far less likely to have a working smoke alarm.

Statistically people are four times more likely to die in a fire in the home if there is no working smoke alarm and over the next 10 years it is estimated that the new laws will result in 231 fewer deaths and 5,860 less injuries.

In order to claim free smoke and carbon monoxide alarms landlords must provide their details and proof of the properties they let.

The events will take place on between 10.00hrs and 14.00hrs on Tuesdays 30 June, 14 July, 11 August, 1 September and 29 September at the following locations:

Bath Community Safety Centre, Bath Fire Station, Cleveland Bridge, Bath BA2 6PU

Fire Safety Office, Weston-super-Mare Fire Station, Milton Avenue, Weston-super-Mare, BS23 3JS

Yate Community Safety Centre, Yate Fire Station, Station Road, Yate BS37 4AL

Fire Safety Office,  Patchway Fire Station, Rodway Road, Patchway BS34 5PE

Service Headquarters, Temple Back, Bristol BS1 6EU