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The responsible person for fire safety in the common areas of blocks of flats is the freeholder landlord, the Resident Management Company or the managing agent and under the Regulatory Reform Order (Fire Safety) 2005 fire risk assessments are essential. They should be specific to the premises and if they are not carried out, or the recommendations from such assessments are not implemented then, if a fire-related incident occurs, the consequences will determined by the courts.

In 2009, fire risk assessments were no longer carried out on blocks of flats like ours (which is in the photograph) but periodic visits from the fire brigade did lead to us being advised that as we were not a ‘closed’ block we did not require an external fire alarm system. The fire officer did make reference to the possibility of an early warning system that would interconnect all flats with each other so that if a fire started in one of the flats then the alarm would go off in all of them. Not too clever if someone simply keeps burning toast (his words not mine!)
Another suggestion was the possibility of having just one alarm installed in a single flat on each floor, so if a fire should break out in that particular flat then others in the block would be warned. He finished by saying that these are not legal requirements, simply something to bear in mind for future reference.

We were however required to ensure that an emergency action plan should be formulated and placed in strategic points throughout the building which we subsequently implemented.

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