DASH Services

"Where we live defines who we are.
Poor housing is linked to poor health and reduces people’s life chances."

Linda Cobb Project Manager

Fires in HMO properties

HMO’s are at higher risk of fire due to a number of factors including:

    • Acts or omissions of the occupants, who are not related to each other

    • Properties that are 3 storeys or more  (for licensed HMO’s)

    • Intrinsic fire hazards within the structure of the property, e.g layout of older properties

Fire prevention measures include:

    • properly designed, installed maintained and regularly tested fire alarm and detection system a system of emergency lighting which operates when the main electric circuits fail

    • protected escape route

    • fire separation (horizontal & vertical) between rooms

    • fire doors

    • good management of the property to ensure all the above are in place, and that the escape route is kept clear of obstructions and flammable materials

It is worth noting that most deaths in fires occur due to asphyxiation from smoke inhalation.  Therefore it is critical that smoke and hot gases are retained within the area of the fire and not allowed to migrate to other areas, particularly the protected escape route.

For guidance on fire safety in residential accommodation reference is always given to the LACORS guidance: http://www.dashservices.org.uk/Resources/Fire-Safety/document-2

The guidance adopts a risk based approach to fire safety that will satisfy both the Housing Act 2004 and the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. It includes guidance to landlords on how to carry out a fire risk assessment.

The guidance will be equally relevant to landlords, managing agents, local councils and fire and rescue authorities. The guidance will apply to both the private and social housing sectors.

First published: June 2012

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