Fire Prevention – Alastair Horton from North Wales Fire and Rescue Services (July 2018)

Alastair Horton from North Wales Fire and Rescue Service joined us for our final Property Meet before our summer break.

Update wise this month, Rich advised everyone that it has just been confirmed that the requirement to carry out an electrical inspection every 5 years will be brought into effect in England. No date has been announced for this as yet.

There has been a recent article in the Wrexham Leader reporting that house prices in Wrexham dipped slightly at the end of a year long rise. Statistics showed that prices had declined slightly by 01.% in May, this was despite a 2.6% rise over the last 12 months.

We then turned to our speaker for this month, Alastair was welcomed to the meet, along with his colleague Emily Jamieson.

He explained that his role is that of a Business Education Adviser and Business Fire Safety Compliance Officer for North Wales Fire and Rescue Service. Their role is to enforce fire safety law, as well as having an obligation to provide information regarding fire risk reduction. They are consulted regarding fire safety on a frequent basis. Alastair stated that there are two most important things when it comes to fire safety, namely the need to be alerted to that fact that there is a fire and the need to get away from it.

He then spoke about different situations; so for example where there are commercial premises with residential premises above. If you are the owner of the residential premises, you are also responsible for the fire prevention in the commercial premises. If the owner of the commercial premises is someone other than yourself, then you will need to liaise with them to get any required work done. They as owners are obliged to provide you with access to their premises so that you can install any fire prevention measures.

Alastair mentioned rooms off rooms; if you are using a room off a room as a bedroom you have to ensure that there is an escape window.

He highlighted the Lacors Guidance which is worth downloading as it gives good guidance on fire prevention. A link to this is provided below:-

He stated that the basics of fire safety in a rental property are to ensure that there is either a thumb turn on the exit door or a Yale latch lock. This means that the tenants do not have to find a key to exit the property should there be a fire. Some discussion took place about thumb turn locks, especially where there are families with small children living in the property and the property is close to a road. In such situations you need to weigh up the risks involved i.e. is it safer to protect the child by not having a thumb turn lock.

In relation to fire alarm systems, these should be serviced every six months. Alastair advised getting an accredited person to service any fire alarm which has a panel; this isn’t a legal requirement but it ensures that you are covered should anything happen.

Where you own a property which has a communal area with the electrics in there, you should ensure they are boxed in at the very least. Best practice would be to use fire resistant boarding.

Alastair then spoke about strips and seals on doors; front doors to flats should always have them. Cold smoke seals are not always required, for example if there’s only a smoke detector in the hallway or communal area then one wouldn’t be required. Intumescent strips allow smoke through whereas cold seals don’t.

Finally he recommended that landlords ensure they provide a fire blanket in all of their rental properties.

Alastair was thanked for his informative talk. Alastair is happy to answer any questions landlords may have regarding fire prevention. Should you wish to contact him, his details are:-

Alastair Horton

Phone:- 01745 352772

Mobile:- 07787 578541