Over the last few decades there has been a significant increase in the number of people in the UK living in flats and apartments. With such huge numbers living in large residential complexes, there are many dangers to consider. One of these is the fire safety issues that proliferate the more people there are living in a building. Fire in residential buildings can be caused by accidents or arsonists, but the result could be the same, injury and even death. This is why it is so important to have clear and effective fire safety regulations in place and the right type of fire doors and other fire safety products. As the person responsible for the management of the building, you need to have an understanding of the fire safety required for residential flats and apartments.
The fire safety regulations that are in place to manage fire risk in these types of buildings are enforced by the Local Housing Authorities, following guidelines set out by the House Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS). The simple premise of these guidelines are as follows:
Think about prevention – The idea should always be to do everything you can to prevent a fire from breaking out in the first place. This means all tenants understand basic fire safety prevention and principles, such as not leaving naked flames unattended, not overloading electrical plugs and always keep an eye on cooking equipment.
Compartmentalisation of the building – Every single flat within a building must act as its own space. What this means is that if a fire breaks out inside one flat, it can be managed to an extent where it doesn’t necessarily quickly spread to other flats in the building. This can be achieved through fire doors and ‘fire stopping’ of holes that allow pipes to move through the building.
Proper Equipment -Fire doors, smoke alarms, fire extinguishers and other fire safety items should be regularly checked and maintained, with tenants taught how to use them correctly.
The dangers of a lack of regulation within the fire safety of properties can be seen in parts of the world where it is pretty lax. For instance, there has been an increase in flat fires that have taken place in flats and apartments in Hong Kong over the last few years. This can only be as a direct result of the loosening of construction rules back in 2012 and the increase in the nano-flats that have increased in popularity during that time. Seeing news stories like this and the higher numbers than we are used to in the UK, it does make you realise how important it is that construction and fire safety regulations are committed to and adhered to at all times, especially when we are living in a time of increased apartment living.
Fire doors are a massively important part of the fire safety plans in the UK. There are different settings where fire doors are required by law and other scenarios where they are advisable if not a legal requirement. As many more of us are now living in flats and apartments than have ever done so before, and the sheer quantity of urban dwellers has significantly increased, fire doors can play an essential role in minimising the risk of fires and smoke in residential buildings where there are multiple flats and apartments. If you are the person responsible for fire safety management of a building, ensure you have the right type of fire door supplier to provide you with fire doors that meet all regulations and function correctly. It could save lives.