Residential Care Home Owners Fined £380k

As regular reader of the DB Fire Safety blog, you will be aware of the necessity to comply with the Fire Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005…..particularly if you are an owner of a residential care home.

Only recently, the owner of a residential care home in Washington, Tyne & Wear was sentenced following five breaches of Residential Care Homefire safety regulations.

The fire destroyed a bedroom and also caused damage to a corridor and smoke damage to other bedrooms and the laundry room.

It was reported that the fire started in a bedoom, but because the fire door had been wedged open, this resulted in the smoke and heat spreading to the communal corridor.  Another bedroom door had also been wedged open and the smoke and heat travelled into this bedroom too.

Because fires can spread extremely quickly (within minutes), the staff had trouble in sourcing where the fire had started.  An elderly lady, where the fire started, became trapped in her room.  Firefighters were, however, able to enter the building wearing breathing apparatus to rescue her safely through a first floor window.

Tyne & Wear Fire and Rescue Service uncovered the following breaches of the Fire Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order, as follows:

  • Two fire doors had been wedged open, when they should always be kept closed.
  • Almost half of the fire extinguishers had been condemned by the company’s appointed contractor.
  • The company failed to comply and carry out a number of requirements identifed in a fire risk assessment.  These requirements included installing electronic devices which would allow fire doors to be wedged open but, in the event of a fire, enabling them to close quickly in an emergency.

Fire can kill, and this particular residential care home owner was fortunate that no-one was seriously injured or killed. The £380k penalty is signficant but it sends out an important message in respect of the value of carrying out fire risk assessments and to comply with Fire Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order.

Fire Awareness Training

Fire safety training for staff is a requirement of not only Fire Safety but also Health & Safety legislation.Training

It is an absolute requirement that all staff receive instruction in respect of how to raise a fire alarm and the evacuation procedures, including the location of all fire exits and the Safe Assembly Point.

It is generally recommended by Health & Safety, as well as Fire Safety Legislation, that all staff receive training in at the very least general fire safety awareness.

There may also be a requirement for some staff to be appointed as Fire Marshalls/Wardens, who, in turn, will be given particular responsibilities in the event of a fire emergency.

Fire safety training is a service Peterborough-based DB Fire Safety offers to assist business owners to comply with the The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

Employees could be fined up to £5,000 for minor penalities and for the more major penalities there could be unlimited fines or even a custodial sentence.

DB Fire Safety fire awareness training helps business owners to avoid falling victim of fires in the first place and to help them meet their legal obligations.

The training will make employees aware of the causes and the consequences of a fire to safeguard their workplace premises, their stock and, of course, their staff.

According to the Department For Communities & Local Government fire statistics:  “In 2013-14, there were 22,200 fires recorded in buildings that were not dwellings.  These fires have declined by more than half compared to that in 2003-04. The majority of these occurred in non -residential buildings (e.g. retails units, pubs, wine bars, cafés, take aways, private garage, private garden sheds and industrial manufacturing plants)” – for more information, please visit –

It’s of paramount importance that employees take into account the fire risk that may be present in their organisations and to make sure that their employees are aware of the causes and consequences.

DB Safety Limited’s training courses are usually held on client’s own premises in Peterborough, Northampton, Cambridge, Leicester and Bedford.

DB Fire Safety also offers e-learning courses that can be undertaken by staff at their leisure. See our website for details…

The courses include training in:Arrange A Free Consultation

  •     fire safety legislation
  •     what is fire
  •     fire precautions
  •     fire extinguishers and how to use them
  •     specific courses designed for Care Homes





Fire Risk Assessments for Houses in Multiple Occupancy (HMOs)

It was reported recently that a property landlord in Nottingham was fined over £3,000 because he was negligent in protecting his tenants from the risk of fire.  The amount of the fine is sending out a strong message to landlords the importance of protecting their tenants from these risks.

You may be thinking that the law is only in place for people runnng a business and renting out several properties.  You will be wrong in this assumption. The law also applies to private individuals looking to rent out their properties – all landlords have a duty of care to their Court Gaveltenants.

If you are a private individual looking to rent out a property, it can be helpful to employ a lettings agent.  Please be aware that even if you employ a lettings agent the responsibility still lies with you, the owner of the property, to comply with fire safety regulations.  You, as a landlord, must rely on your own understanding of the law because you will be leaving yourself wide open to prosecution if your chosen lettings agent is not fully up to speed and there is a fire in the property.

To comply with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order, you as a landlord will be responsible for:

  • Making provision for an adequate means of escape.
  • For all properties build after June 1992, mains operated smoke alarms should be fitted on every floor
  • For older properties, battery-operated smoke alarms should be fitted on every floor
  • Furnishings, made after 1950 should meet fire resistance regulations.
  • All dangerous appliances should be removed.

If you are privately renting out just one property, then you will have to adhere to the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order which came into effect in October 2006   This law is not to “catch you out” but to protect your tenants.  The advice is not to put your profits above your tenants’ safety because all landlords have a duty of care to their tenants.

Remember, if you rent out your property as an HMO (House in Multiple Occupation) or as a block of flats, you will require a fire risk assessment.

DB Fire Safety specialises in helping landlords meet their responsibilities under the Order aDB Fire Safety Contactnd carrying out fire risk assessments; serving Peterborough, Northampton, Cambridge, Leicester and Bedford.

To arrange a free consultation, please call David Black on 0800 772 0559






New UK Fire Safety Legislation For Landlords

With effect from the 1st October 2015, there will be new UK Fire Safety Legislation for Landlords.  The new regulations will make it compulsory for all landlords to fit smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in rented properties.

House FireThis legislation will mean that a smoke alarm must be fitted on each floor of the premises. For properties with a solid burning appliance there will be a requirement to fit a carbon monoxide detector.

It will be the responsibility of landlords to check that these alarms are fitted and working at the commencement of each tenancy. If they choose to disobey this new legislation and fail to comply, they will face the possibility of a penalty of up to £5,000.

It’s not all one way traffic though.  Tenants will also be given some responsibility too. There will be a requirement for tenants to test the smoke and carbon monoxide alarms on a weekly basis. Any faults must be reported to the landlord or agency.

It has been reported that people are at least four times more likely to die in a house fire if no smoke alarm has been fitted. Our hope is that this new legislation will make homes significantly safer for tenants.