Herts estate agent fire 180Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service has teamed up with with local estate agents in St Albans to launch a new pilot initiative aiming to make sure that smoke alarms are fitted when people move into a new property.

The scheme, called ‘Move Safely’, follows new legislation for the private rental sector coming into force in October, which will require smoke detectors to be fitted on each level of the property and carbon monoxide detectors to be fitted in rooms of high risk.

Commenting on the scheme, Richard Thake, Cabinet Member for Community Safety, said: “We’re working with local estate agents because we want to make sure all properties that are rented or sold in the area have working smoke alarms, not just those covered by the new regulations. It’s completely voluntary for estate agents, so it’s good to see so many local agencies interested in working with us.

“We know that there’s an increased fire risk in the first 24 to 48 hours in a new property, while people aren’t as familiar with their surroundings. This campaign will help minimise the risk and ensure homes are protected from day one.”

Is your Service involved in an innovative community project? Enter the Project of the Year category in our 2015 Excellence in Fire & Emergency Awards here

The scheme was launched at St Albans Fire Station earlier this week [20 August], with more than ten local estate agencies attending the event. Letting agents were able to register for free fire safety checks and smoke alarms for properties on their books, and were also provided with fire safety key rings to give to new tenants.

Rachel Gall, head of letting and property management at Barkers estate agents, says: “The event has been excellent, and really informative. I can now go back to landlords and tell them about the new legislation – I strongly believe in the scheme, which is why I came today”.

The ‘Move Safely’ scheme will be piloted in the St Albans area, and subject to funding will be extended to surrounding districts in the near future.