Following a public consultation in the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower disaster, the SNP Government has announced new rules to reduce deaths in household fires, with improved standards introduced for fire and smoke alarms in Scottish homes.
The improved standards will mean every home in the country must have a smoke alarm fitted in the living room or lounge, and in circulation spaces such as hallways and landings.
The changes also mean every kitchen must have a heat alarm, and the alarms will have to be interlinked so they can be heard throughout the property.
There must also be a carbon monoxide alarm where there are fixed combustion appliances.
The new rules mean the standard which currently applies to private rented property and new-builds is being extended to all homes in Scotland.
Housing Minister Kevin Stewart MSP said:
“We are committed to achieving improved fire safety in homes across Scotland and we are clear that one death from residential fires is one too many.
“These new regulations ensure that everyone will benefit from the same high level of protection, whether they own their home or rent from a social or private landlord.”
“Although the standards come into force in February 2021 we hope most people will recognise the additional safety benefits and take action sooner.”
Assistant Chief Officer David McGown, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, said:
"The presence of working smoke and heat detectors has been proven to significantly reduce casualties and fatalities occurring as a result of fires within the home.
“Scottish Fire and Rescue Service therefore welcomes any change that improves safety in the home for all residents, regardless of tenure."
Kenneth Gibson MSP commented:
“What happened with Grenfell Tower was a tragedy that could have been prevented and I am glad the SNP Government has improved fire safety legislation, which was already of a high standard in Scotland, through consultation with members of the public as well as fire safety experts.
“The Local Government and Communities Committee, on which I serve, has reviewed these regulations and we were pleased to pass the Minister’s motion unanimously on 18 December. Discussions are ongoing with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service about financial assistance to enable the new standard of alarms to be fitted for those who are unable to pay for them.”
It will be responsibility of the home owner or landlord to ensure the new fire and smoke alarm standards are met. Estimated costs are an average of £200. However this will vary according to what is already in place, size of home and the type of alarms used.