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Following Complaints, Council Asks Tenants To Report Missing or Broken Smoke Alarms

Published on: 20 Dec, 2017
Updated on: 22 Dec, 2017

A leaseholder in a Bellfields flat points to holes
in the ceiling wheresmoke alarms were removed
by councilcontractors

Guildford Borough Council is asking tenants to report any instances of flats without smoke detectors following further complaints from some tenants reported in The Guildford Dragon NEWS about the removal of fire or smoke alarms in communal areas.

A council spokesperson said: “We continue to work closely with Surrey Fire and Rescue Services around issues concerning fire safety and follow the advice they give in such matters. They are comfortable with the action we have taken.”

“Our contractors check the operation of smoke detectors in our tenant’s flats when servicing central heating systems. When a property becomes vacant we take the opportunity to replace any battery powered smoke detectors with a hard-wired smoke detector.

“If one of our properties does not have a working smoke detector we would ask the tenant to contact our repairs team who will arrange for the necessary work to be completed.  We remind our tenants from time to time of the importance of fire safety and have recently written again to all our tenants and leaseholders in flats which have communal areas.”

“The ‘Stay Put’ policy is a national strategy. Should the national advice change we will update our residents.”

Tenants can report repairs using the following methods:

Report online at:

By Email:

By phone: 01483 444222 (please call this number if your repair is urgent)

See also: Councillor and Tenants Still Unhappy with Council’s Confusing Fire Alarm Policy

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Responses to Following Complaints, Council Asks Tenants To Report Missing or Broken Smoke Alarms

  1. Martin Elliott Reply

    December 20, 2017 at 7:19 pm

    With the variation in fire protection strategies in individual buildings a national strategy is entirely specious.

    The systems of fire protection and mitigation should be drawn together in a fire risk assessment for each specific building. If thinking changes or standards, industry or national, indicate changes by whichever authority, the risk assessment should be reviewed and revised before any physical changes.

    The risk assessment and reasons for change should be communicated to all interested parties.

    Given the current upcoming Public Inquiry and reports on the process regarding materials, I would have thought the ad hoc changes being described by GBC should be thought through again.

  2. Jim Allen Reply

    December 22, 2017 at 3:25 pm

    I think the simplest short-term answer is for all tenants to buy battery-powered smoke alarms and place them above their front doors on the outside. This would give them smoke protection until properly wired in ones are installed.

    • Martin Elliott Reply

      December 23, 2017 at 11:56 pm

      And as I attempted to illistrate, “the simplest short-term answer” could actually increase the risk of serious injury or fatalities.

      A safety device, in a complex situation, is not always a safety measure.

      Why did Surrey Fire Service advise removal of common area alarms? Obviously, the real reasons are known to them, and possibly GBC.

      Active and passive fire protections have to work together. Perhaps, as is often said, each unit is protected by construction from fire elsewhere in the building for 60 min. Hence shelter in place advice.

      Common areas and or stairways are not adequately protected for 60 mins PASSIVE protection; it needs SFR intervention to clear evacuation route.

      So Jim Allen’s alarm encourages evacuation into an already impared escape route. It is a system and has to be examined as such.

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