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Question

Do I have to supply a fire extinguisher on every floor of my HMO? Some councils seem to have different regulations, but what's the official line?

Answer

Different local authorities may have different regulations regarding fire safety in HMOs, however, according to fire safety guidance provided by LACORS, the body which co-ordinates local authority regulators, it is advised that it’s good practice to provide a facility for extinguishing a small fire in it’s early stages in common parts of HMOs and buildings containing flats.

The information also notes that unless a fire is very small and manageable, the safest action is to vacate the property and call the fire brigade, rather than tackle the blaze.

Simple fire extinguishers or fire blankets are the ideal option; rather however it is important to remember that extinguishers should only be used by people who know how to use them safely. If you are going to provide them, you must be sure to provide training on how to discharge one as well.

Make sure that when you have a new tenant move into your property, you over basic advice on how to use the fire extinguisher or blanket, and what to do in the case of emergency.

Further HMO fire safety regulations from the guide include:


Escape routes

  • 30-minute protected route is required, including 30-minute fire-resisting construction and FD30S doors to all risk rooms (Travel distance must not be excessive)


Fire Separation

  • No requirement for additional fire-resisting separation between units, but walls and floors should be of sound, traditional construction


Detection and Alarms

  • Interlinked mains wired smoke alarms with integral battery back-up located throughout the escape route
  • Where cooking facilities are sited within the bedsits: interlinked heat alarms with integral battery back-up located in each bedsit and additional non-interlinked smoke alarm with integral battery back-up located in each bedsit.
  • Where cooking facilities are sited in shared kitchen, not within bedsits: interlinked smoke alarms with integral battery backup located in each bedsit; interlinked heat alarms with integral battery back-up located in each communal kitchen; and additional interlinked smoke alarms with integral battery back-up located in any cellar.


Lighting of escape routes

  • -Emergency escape lighting required only if the route is long or complex or where there is no effective borrowed light
  • Conventional artificial lighting required


Fire fighting equipment

  • Fire blanket to be provided in each bedsit with cooking facilities and in shared kitchens. Simple multipurpose extinguisher on each floor in the common parts recommended


Fire safety signs

  • Signage along escape route if the escape route is complex


The full LACORS document can be downloaded here

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