Fire extinguishers may be removed from blocks of flats across Britain after they were deemed dangerous by buildings risk assessors at two blocks on the South Coast.
Many residents regard the distinctive red extinguishers as the first response to fire, giving vital time until professional firefighters arrive.
But a review of two residential blocks in Bournemouth has raised concerns that householders could delay their escape to tackle a blaze. There is also concern that the use of extinguishers by untrained people could add to the danger.
The report has the backing of Dorset Fire and Rescue Service and extinguishers have already been removed from the two blocks – Admirals Walk and the 10-storey Avon House.
Under the Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order 2005 the managing agents of every private block of flats must hire professional assessors to carry out a risk assessment .
Residents of Admirals Walk were informed in a letter from their managing agents that “unless all residents are trained to operate the fire extinguishers, there is no legal requirement to maintain these in communal areas of residential blocks”.
Hamilton Townsend, managing agents for Avon House, confirmed that the recommendation was to remove extinguishers.