Fire Safety – Storage of Mobility Scooters - West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service(October 21, 2011)
Public advice written by West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service
Issue Date 1 March 2010
Review Date 1 April 2012
The West Yorkshire 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.
Mobility scooters are often stored and left to charge in the sterile areas outside of an occupier’s residence. 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 in a mobility scooter could affect the means of escape and place an unacceptable risk to all occupiers within the building. The Regulatory
Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 would expect such risks to be mitigated.
FIRE RISK ASSESSMENT
Where residents require immediate access to mobility scooters, consideration should be given to making alternative arrangements for the storage of the equipment, e.g. widening the access door into the flat entrance to allow the mobility scooter to be stored and re-charged within the owners own accommodation. Where alternative arrangements are proposed, these should be fully risk assessed.
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 on-going review. Any defects not identified at the construction stage or arising from wear and tear, vandalism or works during the lifetime of the building (e.g., introduction or renewal of services, decoration, repairs and refurbishment - should be managed to avoid compromising fire safety - and changes made by residents) can then be identified and addressed.
Effective management controls must be in place to ensure 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.