15 Aug 2022

In 2020/21 there were 151,000 fires attended by the Fire and Rescue services in Great Britain (England, Wales & Scotland).

Of those fire 33,000 were in dwellings – 27,000 dwelling fires were in England.

2020/21 saw the lowest figures since modern records began – but still 240 people died.

Alarmingly nearly 80% of those deaths occurred in dwellings, many of which would have been rented properties with landlords vicariously responsible and at risk of appearing before the courts on a Gross Negligence Manslaughter or Actual Bodily Harm charge with potential custodial sentences.

Of the 240 deaths:

  • 33% died purely from smoke inhalation
  • 32% died from burns
  • 16% died from a combination
  • 21% cause of death not recorded

No of fires by the cause of fire:

  • 12,711 Cooking appliances
  • 6,375 Electrical wiring / consumer unit
  • 4,087 Electrical appliances
  • 3,360 Matches & cigarette lighters 
  • 3,212 Smoking materials
  • 1,291 Portable heaters
  • 991 Candles 
  • 467 Blowlamps, welding, etc. 
  • 295 Central & water heating

 If you haven’t read and fully understood LACORS fire safety as a landlord, you are not doing your job properly. Google it! Read it! Implement it!

But be aware, it is out of date regarding fire alarms and the minimum is now Grade D1, coverage LD2 per BS5839-6:2019 +A1:2020.  That’s the minimum!

To understand just how much of a risk tenants (and all of us in our own homes) are in a dwelling fire the following is an extract from our tenant fire safety booklet.

  • Something starts smouldering.
  • It could be a phone charger, a hair dryer or straighteners left too close to the bed.
  • It could be a fan heater or even an oil-filled portable heater.
  • A dropped cigarette, an overloaded four-way electric adaptor or a shorted phone charger cable.
  • The bedding, or maybe some papers or soft furnishings, have caught fire already. The flames are growing.
  • The smoke detector hasn’t gone off yet – even if it’s inside the room.
  • By 30 seconds the bedding or curtains are well alight and thick black, poisonous smoke is starting to fill the room.
  • If you are lucky and there is a smoke alarm inside the room, then it will have started sounding.
  • Essential to wake you up if you’re asleep when a fire starts. Heaven help you if its outside the room

The fire is spreading to other items in the room, the smoke is black, acrid and poisonous. It’s full of poisonous gases like Cyanide and Carbon Monoxide.

  • It’s becoming too hot to breathe.
  • Drop to the floor to crawl out.
  • The smoke and heat are unbearable. 
  • One lungful of that smoke could boil the insides of your lungs.
  • In just two minutes, this bedroom has become a raging inferno.
  • The air temperature is well above boiling point near the floor and 600C at the ceiling.
  • If you are still in there your chances of survival are low and even if you survive, you’re likely to suffer horrendous burns.
  • At just 2 minutes and 22 seconds, everything in the room spontaneously combusts.
  • The air temperature reaches 600 to 800 Celsius. Nobody will survive.
  • A few seconds later ‘flashover’ occurs as the black smoke itself ignites – creating a massive, all-consuming fireball.

It is strongly suggested you read the full booklet yourself and watch the linked video then give a copy to every single one of your tenants to help them understand why fire alarms, doors, etc.  are important, especially when they’re sleeping. 

Your property

How certain are you that your rental property(s) are Fire Safe?   Landlord Licencing & Defence inspectors see thousands of properties where the Landlord says ‘the council has signed it off’ or where the landlord ‘thinks’ it is fire safe.

99% of these properties, when our surveyors inspect, have serious fire precaution shortcomings.  Because most landlords and most council officers are not qualified Fire Risk Assessors.

Maybe it is time you look for a professional to make sure your tenants’ lives are not at risk in ways you don’t realise.

And to make sure you have a solid defence in front of the Judge when fire strikes without warning: contact Landlord Licencing & Defence, now, to arrange a fire safety audit or a full HHSRS and fire audit. Use this contact form https://landlordsdefence.co.uk/contact/  or call 0208 088 0788.

Thank you for reading

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