What to expect from your landlord:
Your landlord has the responsibility of keeping you, the tenant, safe from fires. There are certain guidelines they must follow in order to comply with the fire safety order. In order to ascertain the type and extent of fire protection and firefighting equipment they should have carried out a fire risk assessment on the premises.
You should be provided with the following fire safety information at the start of your tenancy;
- Access to escape routes and that they are clear from obstructions
- Provide a smoke alarm on each storey and a carbon monoxide alarm in any room with a solid fuel burning appliance (for example a coal fire or wood burning stove)
- Ensure the furniture and furnishings they have supplied are fire safe
- Provide fire alarms and extinguishers if the property is a large house in multiple occupation (HMO)
- Give you a current gas safe certificate before you move in or within 28 days of the check.
- Electrical inspection report
What should you look out for?
Good maintenance and housekeeping also plays a large part in ensuring the building is fire safe.
In maisonettes and blocks of flats it’s essential that:
- All front doors and doors on corridors and staircases must be self-closing fire doors. These should self-close properly and not be wedged open as they are designed to prevent the fire spreading.
- Corridors and staircases are clear and free from obstruction. This can block escape routes and prevent fire fighters reaching those who need help. They may also feed the fire.
- Everyone in the building knows the escape routes and where the fire assembly point is
- Take note of fire safety signage. This directs you in the event of a fire
If you are concerned about any of the above, contact your landlord.
Why is it usually safer to ‘stay put’?
The advice is to stay put in the event of a fire, unless your flat is being effected by fire or smoke. This based on the fire protection provided in the building and the walls and doors of each flat. If this is adequate the fire usually only affects the flat that’s on fire.
As the London Fire Brigade states “By ‘staying put’ it will reduce the risk of you entering a smoky corridor unnecessarily and potentially being overcome by smoke. It will also allow our firefighters to tackle the fire safely and quickly without being delayed by many residents evacuating down the stairways.”