More elderly and disabled people will be helped to install fire alarms that save lives and meet new building standards rules thanks to an additional £500,000 in funding.
This doubles the funding already given to Care and Repair Scotland to help older and disabled people to install the alarms. Together with the £1 million already provided to the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service to install alarms in the homes of people at highest risk, the Scottish Government is providing £2 million to help people to meet the new standards.
The new rules require all homes in Scotland to have interlinked fire alarms, which communicate with each other so that a fire in one room sets off alarms throughout the property, giving people more time to escape and call emergency services.
The requirements have been in place for new-build and private-rented homes for a decade, and will come into effect for owner-occupied homes and those in the social rented sector on Tuesday 1 February. They place a legal duty on councils to monitor how many homes are compliant. Homeowners will not be penalised if they haven’t had the alarms installed in time but are encouraged to do so.
Housing Secretary Shona Robison said:
“We’re introducing these new standards because interlinked fire alarms will save more lives. One death from fire is one too many, but tragically last year alone 44 people died in house fires in Scotland. We would encourage all homeowners to install the alarms as soon as they are able – long life battery-powered interlinked alarms are as easy to install as traditional standalone ones.
“We know that some homeowners may not be able to meet the cost of fitting the necessary alarms so had already provided £500,000 funding through Care and Repair Scotland to help elderly and disabled people. We don’t want funding to be a barrier to this important work, which is why we’re now doubling this funding, taking our total support to help people install these alarms to £2 million. We are in discussions with Care and Repair to ensure support continues up to and beyond the 1 February deadline, so that elderly and disabled people can make this fire safety improvement.”
Robert Thomson, National Director for Care and Repair Scotland, said:
“We are delighted by this announcement as this has been a very popular scheme and the additional funding will allow local Care and Repair services to continue to support older and disabled people. We intend to target some of this additional funding to Council areas that do not have a Care and Repair service. It is also helpful that we are able to continue to provide support beyond the 1 February deadline.”
To be eligible for support from Care & Repair Scotland, you must live and own your home that has a Council Tax banding of A-C. You must also either be of state pension age and in receipt of guaranteed Pension Credit, or have a disability and be in a support group for Employment and Support Allowance.
Tenants should contact their landlords if they do not have interlinked alarms in their homes.
The Association of British Insurers has confirmed that its members are aware of the new regulations coming into force and are unlikely to invalidate a home insurance claim for existing customers who haven’t yet complied with the new law in Scotland. Anyone who is unclear about their policy should speak to their insurer.