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March 4, 2022

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Domestic fire safety

BAFE and NAPIT publish new data highlighting growing fire safety failure rates

BAFE Fire Safety Register and NAPIT have published new research considering domestic fire safety, highlighting failure rates and absence of domestic smoke alarms.

In research presented by BAFE and NAPIT, data collated over the last decade (2010/2011 – 2020/2021) in England, Wales and Scotland recorded 424,464 dwelling fires. These fires resulted in 82,000 non-fatal casualties and close to 3,000 deaths.

In more recent statistics, made available by Fire and Rescue Services nationwide, during 2020/2021, there was a 28% failure rate of smoke alarms (i.e., that failed to operate or were not present). This rises to 39% in Scotland, increasing further to 50% in Wales.

Provisional data from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities reports close to 176,000 new build dwellings were started in England alone during the previous 12 months from year ending 2021 (July-September).

In August 2021, BAFE launched its latest competency scheme with NAPIT, called DS301. This provides a route for contractors to demonstrate their competence to design, install, commission, and maintain Grade D fire detection and fire alarm systems in domestic premises. This supports appropriate British Standards and working best practice, including the latest iteration of BS 5839-6.

Justin Maltby-Smith, Managing Director of BAFE, commented: “This information clearly outlines that it is extremely important that any work on Grade D fire detection and fire alarm systems is performed in compliance with the appropriate current regulatory and competency documents available.

“Having suitable systems in place will aid in alerting residents as quickly as possible, allowing for a safer evacuation and providing emergency services more time to mitigate any damage. The housing sector has great responsibility to use competent contractors, which is why the BAFE DS301 Scheme was developed, and will clearly help in evidencing this competency.”

Frankie Bertie, Chief Technical Officer of NAPIT, added: “These statistics show the risk to life posed by fire is a real threat. NAPIT are proud to be leading the way with the introduction of the new DS301 Scheme with BAFE to provide homeowners, house builders, management companies and specifiers with confidence that the contractor they use is appropriately qualified, competent and assessed.

“Registered members on the NAPIT DS301 Scheme have demonstrated their competency to deliver design, installation, commissioning and/or maintenance works for Grade D fire detection and fire alarm systems in domestic premises. Correctly installed fire detection systems helps safe lives and must be considered a priority in all homes. “

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