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Rob Ratcliff was the Content and Community Manager of IFSEC Global.com. He is a self-confessed everyman in the world of security and fire, keen to learn from the global community of experts who have been a part of IFSEC for 40 years now.
August 9, 2013

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Who Are the Worst Fire Safety Culprits?

A poll of IFSEC Global users shows that the public conception is that takeaways and restaurants are the worst culprits for fire safety breaches.

In the poll, we asked, “Who are the worst fire safety culprits?” and 26.92 percent said that takeaways and restaurants were top of the crop. This was closely followed by HMOs and bars on 25 percent and 19.23 percent respectively.

The poll was undertaken in response to fire safety solicitor Warren Spencer’s article last month which revealed that of the 100 prosecutions he has been involved with since the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 came into force, almost half of them had been involved in some form of domestic premise. Twenty-eight percent were houses in multiple occupation, and 21 percent were premises containing multiple occupation, including living accommodations.

These properties are likely to include takeaways and bars, so their presence in the top of our poll was therefore quite representative.

The full results of the poll were:

Who are the worst fire safety culprits?
Takeaways and restaurants
26.92%
26.92%
HMOs
25.00%
25.00%
Bars
19.23%
19.23%
Industrial premises
9.62%
9.62%
Hotels
5.77%
5.77%
Care homes
3.85%
3.85%
Commercial buildings including offices
3.85%
3.85%
Other
3.85%
3.85%
Shops
1.92%
1.92%

The general feeling among many in the industry has always backed up the idea that HMO residents are at the greatest risk. Just last week, the concept of overcrowded housing was highlighted again by a BBC investigation, while in April we reported on how HMO residents were up to 16 times more likely to be killed in a house fire than those who lived in a normal family home.

One of our bloggers — Exova Warringtonfire’s Simon Ince — commented on new ways that fire services are helping to protect HMO residents:

There are some advanced plans to identify those HMO providers who take fire safety seriously and who can demonstrate that they meet current fire safety standards. This will allow those who are looking for accommodation to select on a fire safety basis. The issue of HMO fire deaths is on the fire services agenda and hopefully this new initiative will help signpost the good from the bad and ugly and will hopefully stimulate the sector to improve. One thing I would say is that agents have a big role to play in this. They should make sure the property they let is fire safe, before they accept them on to the books. This new scheme will enable them to be responsible agents.

We all appear to recognize that HMO residents are at risk, but what is the industry trying to do about it?

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Plus, we explore the growing risks of lithium-ion battery fires and hear from experts in disability evacuation and social housing.

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