Under the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide (England) Regulations 2015, your landlord is legally required to install at least one smoke alarm on every floor in their properties. In addition, they should provide a carbon monoxide alarm in a room which has a solid fuel burning appliance, such as a wood burning stove or coal fire. At the beginning of new tenancies, a landlord should ensure that all alarms are functioning properly. If a landlord should fail to comply with these legally enforced requirements, local authorities can choose to impose a fine of up to £5,000.
However, accidents do happen, and so we’ve provided some key tips for how tenants can best prevent any avoidable incidents:
If you are permitted to smoke in your property, it is important that once you are finished with your cigarettes, they are put out and disposed of appropriately or put out and placed in an appropriate, proper ashtray to avoid potential fires.
In order to ensure that a fire is prevented and that you are well prepared in your property:
- Be cautious if you have been drinking alcohol or taking medication which may make you drowsy and therefore affect your concentration
- Make sure you have a smoke alarm fitted upon moving into your property – these alert you of a possible fire by detecting smoke
- Ensure there are working smoke alarms fitted on each level of the property
- Test the batteries of these alarms every week – replace them with some new ones every year and never remove them
Although candles provide tranquillity, it is important to remember that they are an open flame and a potential fire hazard if they are not carefully monitored. In order to avoid any chance of a fire occurring, you should take some simple steps:
- Be careful with candles and tea lights – avoid placing them on or near materials that are likely to catch fire – like curtains
- Never leave a burning candle unattended
- Extinguish a candle if the flame becomes too high or flickers repeatedly
- Keep candles out of the reach of children and pets.
According to data taken from Electrical Safety First (ESF) 1380 fatalities and injuries caused by electrical fires and cookers and ovens were the cause of 679 electrical-related fatalities in 2016/2017. Moreover, 54.4% of fires in England were caused by electricity. To ensure that you’re being extra cautious when it comes to electrics, consider these steps:
- Avoid overloading sockets – keep to one plug per socket
- Use a proper adaptor if you are using a non-UK electrical appliance – never put two prong plugs into three prong sockets
- Don’t use heaters for drying clothes and keep them a safe distance away from curtains and furnishings
- Inform your landlord immediately if you are concerned about the electrics in your property – if you notice burn marks around plugs or cables for example
- Don’t attempt to fix faulty electrics yourself – inform your landlord or call a qualified electrician
- An extension lead or adaptor will have a limit to how many amps it can take, so be careful not to overload them to reduce the risk of fire
- Appliances use different amounts or power – a television may use a 3 amp plug and vacuum cleaner a 5 amp plug for example