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Fire Service pilot scheme saves 358 residents from potential harm from fire

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Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue (HWFRS) has recently completed a proactive twelve month pilot project to tackle fire safety issues created by rogue landlords of unlicensed HMO Properties (Houses of Multiple Occupation) including residential accommodation above commercial premises.

The project started in August 2016 and has resulted in a significant increase in fire safety enforcements, meaning 358 residents found to be living in this type of property are now living in safer conditions where risk of harm or injury from fire has been considerably reduced through the work of HWFRS Fire Safety Officers.

Premises within the areas of Worcester, Evesham, Droitwich, Kidderminster, Stourport and Kington were identified as being of potential concern. All of the identified HMO properties were given Business Fire Safety Checks (BFSCs) and where necessary a full Fire Safety Inspection. 17% of these BFSC undertaken during the pilot scheme resulted in further Fire Safety Officer intervention and /or enforcement activities. A premises database has been updated in each area to reflect the geography and strengthening relationships with partner agencies.

Mark Preece, Area Commander for Community Risk said: "The pilot project has provided significant fire safety intervention during the twelve month period, it has proved invaluable into helping reduce the risk of harm or injury from fire for over 350 residents!"

He continued: "Ultimately, the project has potentially saved lives and made properties safer within our communities of Herefordshire and Worcestershire. If you are a landlord that wants further information or a premise checked, or you are a tenant that thinks the Fire Safety in your property is not up to standard please contact HWFRS Community Safety and Business Safety team on 0800 032 1155."

Due to its successes, Hereford and Worcester Fire Authority have agreed to continue running the project for a further twelve months to follow up on any enforcement activities that have taken place with landlords and to continue with the success of the project to further safeguard vulnerable people.

If you are a landlord and would like further information on Business Fire Safety and Landlord Fire Safety please visit the safety and advice section of the Service's website: www.hwfire.org.uk.