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"Are You Prepared? HMO Fire Safety Tips You Need to Know"

Blog Created by Alex Robbins

Living in a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) comes with its unique set of responsibilities, especially regarding fire safety. Ensuring a safe living environment is not only a legal requirement but also a moral duty to protect the lives of all occupants. Here are some essential fire safety tips to follow in HMOs.

Install and Test Smoke Alarms

A critical aspect of fire safety is the installation and maintenance of smoke alarms. Each floor of the property should have a working smoke alarm. These alarms are vital in providing early warning of a fire, giving occupants valuable time to evacuate safely. Regular testing of these alarms is essential. Aim to test them at least once a month. Simply press the test button until the alarm sounds. If it doesn't, replace the batteries or the alarm itself. Ensure all occupants are familiar with the sound of the smoke alarm and understand what to do if it goes off.

Highlight Escape Routes

Familiarity with escape routes can be lifesaving. All housemates should know all possible exits in case of a fire. Identify primary and secondary routes out of the building. In HMOs, this typically includes front and back doors, windows, and any emergency exits. Practising these routes regularly ensures everyone knows what to do in an emergency. Consider conducting fire drills to reinforce this knowledge. Make sure everyone knows how to unlock doors and windows and ensure keys are easily accessible.

Keep Exits Clear

Keeping escape routes clear is a fundamental fire safety principle. Corridors, stairways, and doors must remain unobstructed at all times. This rule applies to everyday items such as shoes, bikes, and rubbish bins that might block pathways. In an emergency, every second counts, and clutter can become a deadly obstacle. Regularly check these areas and ensure everyone in the house understands the importance of keeping these routes free from obstructions.

Use Electrical Appliances Safely

Electrical appliances, if misused, can pose a significant fire hazard. Avoid overloading electrical sockets, as this can cause overheating and potentially start a fire. Use appliances according to the manufacturer's instructions, and unplug devices when they are not in use. Be especially cautious with high-wattage appliances such as heaters and irons. Regularly check cables and plugs for any signs of wear and tear, and replace any damaged components immediately.

Be Cautious with Cooking

Cooking is one of the most common causes of fires in homes. Never leave cooking unattended, even for a short period. Keep flammable items such as tea towels and paper away from the hob. The kitchen should be equipped with a fire extinguisher and a fire blanket. Ensure everyone knows how to use these tools. Additionally, keeping the cooker clean can prevent grease build-up, which can easily catch fire.

Check Heating Equipment

Heating equipment must be regularly checked to ensure it is in good working order. Heaters and radiators should not be covered by clothes or other materials, as this can cause them to overheat and potentially ignite nearby objects. Keep flammable items at a safe distance from all heat sources. If using portable heaters, ensure they have an automatic shut-off feature in case they tip over.

Create a Fire-Safety Checklist

Creating a fire-safety checklist ensures all necessary precautions, such as testing smoke alarms and inspecting electrical appliances, are taken. Sharing this checklist with tenants is easy and accessible with a Word to PDF converter. Simply create your checklist, then convert your Word document to a PDF and distribute it to all housemates.


Fire safety in HMOs is a shared responsibility. By taking these steps, you can significantly reduce the risk of fire and protect the lives of everyone on the property. Regular maintenance, awareness, and preparedness are key. Install and test smoke alarms, know and keep escape routes clear, use electrical appliances safely, be cautious with cooking, check heating equipment, and create a comprehensive fire-safety checklist. Together, these measures form a robust strategy to ensure a safe living environment for all.

Gratitude is owed to Alex from the 1st Aid Fire Team.

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