Appeal for greater fire safety launched

by Sarah Ashcroft

Carrying out a fire risk assessment before renting a room to a lodger is one step homeowners can take to increase safety and meet legal obligations. But now, thanks to a new app, it is not only thing would-be landlords can do.

With half of all accident house fires caused by faulty or misused electrical equipment in 2010/11, the Fire Kills campaign is highlighting a new app from the Electrical Safety Council. It could be a valuable tool for anyone renting a room or an entire property, as ensuring appliances are safe for use is a key legal requirement.

The app helps both landlords and tenants to identify risks in property and offers advice on to resolve them.

Chief fire and rescue adviser to the government Sir Ken Knight notes that it is not possible to avoid electrical appliances in a home, so it is vital everything is done to ensure they are safe.

"Most electrical fires start in the kitchen, so be extra careful with cooking equipment," he adds. "Fire in the home can be devastating, but many of these fires are preventable. By following some simple steps, you can help keep you and your loved ones safe from fire."

The advice includes not overloading plug sockets, checking for worn or frayed wires, unplugging appliances when not in use, ensuring appliances are clean and in good working order, and potentially using a Residual Current Device (RCD). This works like a circuit breaker to protect against electric shocks and reduces the risk of electrical fires.

Lorraine Carney, senior campaigns manager at the Electrical Safety Council, said: "There is a worrying gap between the public's perception of electrical danger and the reality, with people making simple yet potentially fatal errors that can be easily prevented."

The Electrical Safety Council also advises that heaters should be kept clear from curtains and furniture and must never be used for drying clothes. While much of the advice is aimed at residents, it is important for landlords to do all they can to reduce the risk of fire by making sure their tenants know the score. This could also stop landlords having to claim on their buy-to-let insurance.

  • Landlord and Tenancy News from Lawpack: Get all the risk assessment template forms and guidance you need to comply with fire safety regulations with Lawpack's Fire Risk Assessment Kit.

Published on: January 23, 2012

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