Landlords urged to fit alarms in time for new life saving fire safety laws

Statistically people are four times more likely to die in a fire in the home if there is no working smoke alarm and over the next 10 years it is estimated that the new laws will result in 231 fewer deaths and 5,860 fewer injuries.

While overall smoke alarm ownership in the country stands at around 90%, those living in private rented homes are far less likely to have a working smoke alarm.

Oxfordshire County Council’s Fire and Rescue Service is calling on the county’s landlords to make sure they have smoke alarms fitted to their properties before the law comes in.  To help landlords prepare for the new legislation, the service will run a series of information and advice events in September.

If the legislation receives parliamentary approval, the new law will mean that smoke alarms must be fitted on every floor of the property as well as carbon monoxide alarms in properties which burn solid fuels. Landlords must check the alarms are working at the start of every new tenancy with potential penalties of up to £5,000 if they don’t comply.

To help landlords prepare for the new regulations, the Government has provided the Fire and Rescue Service with a limited number of free smoke and carbon monoxide alarms to give out to relevant landlords.

“We are keen to work with local landlords to improve the safety of tenants across our area,” said Area Manager Gabby Heycock. There is no doubt alarms save lives. Only last week smoke alarms were instrumental in two elderly people being able to get out of their home after their heating boiler burnt out.

“We would urge those landlords who need to take action to comply with the new regulations to book onto one of our four area based launch events. These are being held at:

City – Rewley Road Fire station on Tuesday the 8th of September, at 7pm,

Cherwell - Kidlington Fire Service HQ, Thursday the 10th of September, 7pm,

South and Vale – Didcot Fire Station on Tuesday the 15th of September at 7pm,

West – Woodgreen Offices, Witney, on Thursday the 17th of September at 7pm.

The fire service will provide advice on fire risk in the home and will issue the free smoke alarms provided by the government.

The Chief Fire Officers’ Association (CFOA) has been campaigning for over two years for the legislation to be introduced and presented key evidence and research into the Government’s national review of the issue.

Mark Cashin, Chair of CFOA’s Home Safety Committee said: “While deaths and injuries from fires have reduced considerably in recent years, the majority of victims continue to be those who are most vulnerable, often living in private rented accommodation.

“We are delighted that the Government has worked with us to bring in these new laws which will improve the safety of families and stop dozens of people from losing their lives to fire each year. We also welcome their £3 million in funding which will ensure nearly 500,000 smoke and carbon monoxide alarms will be installed in the coming months.”

Landlords interested in attending one of the courses should e-mail Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service at:

Community.safety@oxfordshire.gov.uk or call on 01865842999

Stating  which session they are booking, their name, the details of the properties that the smoke alarms are for, how many they require and whether they require carbon monoxide detectors for rooms with solid fuel combustible appliances.