Fire Prevention – Why We Do What We Do

Today’s post comes written with a heavy heart; this week, the Essex County Fire & Rescue Service – where our lead Fire Risk Assessor, Matthew Digby, began his career as a firefighter back in 2015 – attended a flat fire in Woodland Grove, Epping, which sadly led to the death of a resident.

Domestic fires are devastating at the best of times, causing unthinkable damage to property and belongings, not to mention being extremely traumatic for those involved. But when there is a loss of life, it makes it all the more so.

As fire industry experts, it hurts us to see this happen – especially when we understand the ins and outs, what might have made a difference, what could have been done to prevent the fire and the subsequent death of one individual. Especially when it’s so close to home, it does leave us wondering, “what if”.

Tt first, the fire was thought to have broken out in a ground floor flat; it soon became clear that it in fact started in the top floor,  spreading quickly via the roof. This in particular made us want to draw attention back to a recent blog of ours, to reiterate the importance of fire partitioning systems which, in a situation like this, really do have the potential to save lives.

In a properly partitioned building, the roof cavity will be closed off with fire prevention materials in order to reduce the speed with which a fire can spread. This is something which will come up in an annual fire risk assessment for residential properties, and events like this week just prove how imperative fire partitioning can be.

And as for how a fire like this begins? We can’t say it enough: check your smoke alarms. And, as a landlord, make sure you tell your residents to check theirs. Something as simple as replacing the batteries could save the life of a person. As the landlord or ‘responsible person’, your legal responsibility doesn’t extend to checking that each individual tenant’s alarms are working (other than at the beginning of a new tenancy agreement period). But your legal responsibility ending shouldn’t mean the end of your human responsibility; checking in with tenants, giving them a nudge or reminder here and there to check their alarms isn’t too arduous a task – and it’s simply the right thing to do.

When a fire happens, it’s difficult to say exactly what the cause was and whether it could have been avoided. Nonetheless, Excel Fire would like to extend our thanks to the Essex Country Fire & Rescue Service for the stellar job they do, along with sending our thoughts and respects to the family of the individual who sadly lost their life.

As fire risk assessors and certified installers of fire prevention equipment, these are the very circumstances we work so hard to avoid on behalf of our clients. Please, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team for everything fire safety, in and around London and the Home Counties.