Journalist, Cherry Park

Author Bio ▼

Cherry Park is an experienced freelance journalist and reporter who specializes in features, news, and news analysis, in print and online. She has written extensively in the areas of health and safety, fire safety, employment, HR, recruitment, rewards, pay and benefits, market research, environment, and metallurgy, and she also conducts research.
October 31, 2013

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Blue Watch Scheme Offers Landlords Fire Advice

Last year, 9,000 people were injured by fire in their homes, and 4,000 suffered from carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. A new register set up by the Chief Fire Officers Association (CFOA) in conjunction with the UK’s Fire and Rescue Services (FRS) aims to reduce those figures.

The Blue Watch scheme aims to encourage landlords to make their rental properties safer from fire and CO risks and give themselves (and their tenants and potential tenants) peace of mind. The scheme will help ensure that the correct safety products and procedures are in place in rented properties, where the risk of fire and CO is higher than in owned properties.

The Blue Watch Scheme Explained

Errant landlords

The ongoing stream of UK prosecutions for fire safety offences demonstrates that landlords continue to flout the regulations and put their tenants in danger.

Despite their legal responsibilities, many landlords do not fit CO or smoke alarms, provide tenants with gas safety certificates, or ensure electrical equipment is safe. West Yorkshire FRS research found 31 percent of landlords never worry about making sure their tenants are safe, yet 6 percent of renters — the equivalent of around 99,000 people in the region — have had a fire or gas leak in their home.

Record number of new landlords

In addition, the number of first-time landlords is now at a record high. Private investor landlords — or even people letting their property privately because they don’t want to sell it — are increasing. Often these landlords are not rogues, but they do not have a good understanding of their fire safety responsibilities.

Self-declaration and validation

The two-part voluntary Blue Watch scheme works as follows:

  • Landlords or letting agents are able, for a small fee, to carry out a simple online self-declaration by answering a series of questions about their property and the safety measures in place.
  • This self-certification is validated by an independent fire safety expert (sourced through the local FRS), who visits the property and gives advice on improving fire safety.
  • Landlords are given a certificate after their assessment, and they may use the Blue Watch logo to demonstrate their property meets safety standards.
  • Self-declarations cost GB pound 25 plus VAT, while the validation service costs GB pound 65 plus VAT; both are valid for 12 months. Blue Watch-branded fire safety products are also available via the website.

Blue Watch launched initially in West Yorkshire, Humberside, Merseyside, and Hampshire. For more information, visit the CFOA website.

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batye
batye
November 1, 2013 9:30 am

in Canada we have simular program… and in my opinion Co./smoke detectors do save lifes as long as they get installed properly….

SunitaT
SunitaT
November 25, 2013 10:20 pm

This is understandable, though not very pleasant, that rented properties are more vulnerable than owned properties. Renters should at least consider the safety of their property if not the safety of the lives of tenants which are but just business for them. But in my opinion tenants have to share the blame for this as they too don’t seem to pay any special attention to the fire safety of the house.

SunitaT
SunitaT
November 25, 2013 10:20 pm

Blue Watch is indeed a very good initiative commendable to the core. They have kept the fees considerably low as well when we consider the 12 month validity of the assessment and other fire safety benefits that can be achieved by this self-certification program. It should encourage the landlords to take up this program seriously and ensure the safety of their building and its residents.