Following a recent incident which involved a mobility scooter becoming involved in fire, Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service have felt the need to make owners aware of the potential risk related to this mode of transport.
This incident on 24 July 2011 in Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, gives graphic support to the dangers around mobility scooters within homes and other accommodation.
The picture of the mobility scooter engulfed in fire demonstrates the seriousness of this occurrence and should prompt all owners to consider where they store and recharge their scooter.
Click on the link below to see the damage; imagine this fire in your home.
Pensioner pulled to safety seconds before his mobility scooter EXPLODED
Mobility scooters are often stored and left to charge in areas such as corridors and staircases which are classed as sterile areas and should be free from combustible materials and ignition sources. This sterile area often makes up the means of escape for other residents within the living accommodation. This could be in a block of flats, sheltered accommodation, residential care home or other similar communal living accommodation.
The practice of storing mobility scooters in sterile areas places an unacceptable risk to other occupiers and must be discouraged.
Mobility scooters offer an increased fire loading and potential source of ignition. If involved in fire they can release large amounts of highly toxic smoke and gases. If stored in protected corridors, staircases or common areas (sterile areas), a fire involving a mobility scooter could affect the means of escape and place an unacceptable risk to all occupiers within the building.
Fire Risk Assessment
The responsible person for flats, sheltered accommodation, residential care home or other similar communal living accommodation has a duty under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 to consider any significant fire safety issues within the premises and put in place control measures to mitigate against these. This should be done by carrying out a fire risk assessment.
The fire risk assessments must consider the structure of the premises including fire resistance and fire stopping between common parts and residential accommodation. Although premises may have been constructed with appropriate compartmentation to prevent fire spread (including that provided by flat doors fitted with effective self-closing devices), fire stopping and fire resistance, the ongoing presence of effective provision needs to be reasonably confirmed and monitored through ongoing review.
Effective management controls must be in place to ensure that means of escape are not used for storage of combustible materials or items that block or impede use of the means of escape and that the means of escape is sufficiently obvious and illuminated, particularly at night.
Residents in blocks of flats should be made aware of the appropriate action to take in case of fire, as determined by the fire risk assessment, and the means of escape available to them. Fire action notices or other means of passing fire safety information should be provided for residents, maintenance staff and visitors.
Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service adheres to the policy that protected corridors and staircases, as well as common areas in flats and sheltered housing are to be maintained as sterile areas at all times. A sterile area should not contain any flammable items or materials, any items or substances that may act as an ignition source or objects that could pose as trip hazards.
Fire Safety Advice
In the Home
- Consider outside storage and charging.
- Never leave on charge overnight.
- Ensure the scooter is not on your escape route.
- Ensure you have working smoke alarms and know your escape plan.
- Make sure you have your scooter regularly serviced by a qualified engineer.
- The storage and charging of such scooters should therefore be fully risk assessed by the Responsible Person.
- It is unacceptable to store and/or charge scooters in protected corridors, staircases and other means of escape.
- Ideally a separate external charging and storage area should be provided.
- It may be acceptable to create protected charging/storage areas in areas such as under staircases, provided there is 30 minutes fire resistance and automatic fire detection supplied.
- Scooters may be stored in common areas as long as they are segregated from protected escape routes with a suitable level of fire separation and are subject to a fire risk assessment.
For further advice or information please contact Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service on 0116 2872241 and ask for the Risk Information Support Team.