Part Six: Wider context
54. This consultation focuses on fire and smoke alarms, however we appreciate that fire safety also draws in other issues. The wider work of the Ministerial Working Group will look at these separately. Other issues could include:
- Sprinklers and other fire suppression systems
- Fire safety guidance – covering matters such as carrying out risk assessments, construction of new building, and behaviour of occupiers
- Electrical safety, e.g. where faulty appliances can create a fire risk
- The fitting of PVC front doors and the removal of fire doors in tenements and flats (and how this is enforced)
- Fire rating of materials used in building, including windows
- The risk of compromising existing fire protection in subsequent maintenance and improvement work
- Additional standards for sheltered housing or care homes, etc.
55. We are also aware that some fire alarm systems are monitored by a third party organisation (“the monitor”), usually combined with a monitored burglar alarm system. In these systems, if the alarm is triggered the monitor will contact the fire services or police as appropriate. The monitor will also check that the system is up-to-date and working properly. Some home owners will use alarms of this type and we know that some social landlords have installed them in blocks of flats. However, these systems are more expensive than unmonitored alarms – social landlords advise us that it can cost up to £10,000 for a system in one block of flats. While this may be an option that some owners and landlords want to consider as best practice, we do not think it would be proportionate or practical to make it part of a minimum standard.
56. The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service sometimes attend a property following the triggering of a smoke alarm and find that the alarm has been set off by accident, or maliciously, or through a fault. This uses resources that may be needed elsewhere and has an economic and organisational impact on the service. The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service do not currently charge for costs of responding to unwanted fire alarm signals, though some fire services in the UK do charge as a deterrent where false alarms are repeated. If such charges were introduced the liability might fall on landlords or owners due to actions of tenants and other residents.
Question 15: We have outlined other measures and approaches we are planning to consider in future work. Is there anything else we should be including?
Email: Simon Roberts, firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit
The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House