Does your building comply with fire safety regulations?

normativa incendio comunidades

If you live in a homeowner’s association, you’re likely concerned about the possibility of a fire spreading in the building at some point. To avoid scares, this article introduces the fire safety regulations for communities.

Most common causes of fires in communities

Fires in homeowner communities accounted for almost 10% of the total during 2020-2021, according to data collected by the UNESPA report.

Electrical faults are one of the main causes that favour the occurrence of fires in communal buildings. Overloads, deterioration in insulation, extension cords, and incorrect use of facilities are some of the most repeated motivations. Also, older electrical installations can become a real problem.

Similarly, uncivil behaviours such as throwing lit cigarette butts into bins can cause significant damage.

Regulations for Homeowner Communities

The Fire Protection Installations Regulation, approved in 2017, determines what measures should be taken in the event of such disasters. These measures directly affect homeowner communities.

They dictate standards such as the establishment of improvements in preventive systems or the obligation to undergo periodic reviews. It also mandates the constant updating of fire-fighting elements, among other measures.

These guidelines were designed for application in new constructions. However, old buildings had specific deadlines to update: one year for properties over 20 years old; two years for those between 20 and 15 years; and three years for buildings from 15 to 10 years. The regulation came into force in 2018, so communities should have already updated by 2021.

Mandatory Regulations in Communities specifically

Homeowner communities are required to:

  • Have fire protection systems in place: extinguishers and smoke detectors on landings, emergency signs, fireproof doors, etc.
  • Hire a company approved by the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism for the installation of these systems.
  • Carry out quarterly inspections of the prevention equipment. This can be done by your community or the maintenance company, and everything must be recorded in minutes. An independent inspection is added to this one: the one carried out every decade by the Authorised Control Body.
  • Replace the protection elements periodically. Sprinklers, smoke detectors, and emergency lighting every 10 years; hoses and fireproof blankets every 20. Signpost and place extinguishers at a height of 80-120 centimetres.


Fire safety in garages

Fires are especially dangerous in high-risk areas like the community garage. In these spaces, detection is usually later. The gases and flammable liquids enclosed here make the spread much faster than in other areas of the building.

If your community’s garage is over 500 m2 (i.e., capacity for about 25 cars), it will also have to be inspected by the Authorised Control Body.

On the other hand, it is advisable to avoid the accumulation of dangerous elements, rubbish, and disorder. The garage must have sprinklers, detectors, and extinguishers like the rest of the common spaces. Also, it is advisable that they have good ventilation.

Installation of smoke detectors

From Mediterráneo, we emphasise the importance of having one installed in all homes. The cost is small, and statistics assure that in countries where their installation has been made mandatory (United Kingdom, France, and others), fires in domestic homes have been reduced between 40% and 50%, remaining only in minor incidents, according to a statement by the College of Administrators of Madrid.

  • Prevention reduces 50% of deaths in a fire.
  • Prevention reduces 50% of nocturnal deaths. Hence the importance and necessity of installing smoke detectors in our homes, whether we live alone or not.

Where to Install Them?

Ideally, in all the rooms of the house, although it will depend on the size of the same. Advisable in the living room and bedrooms. They just need to be glued or screwed to the ceiling.

Measures to Prevent Fires in the Community and at Home We might think that the kitchen is the place in the house with the highest risk of fire, but it is not. Paradoxically, 40% of domestic fires originate in the living room and 30% in rooms or bedrooms. Only 20% of domestic fires correspond to kitchens. One of the main causes is the use of fireplaces and stoves, these systems are sources of heat, very useful for getting through the winter, but in many cases, the necessary precautions are not taken. People leave these instruments on, they acquire extreme heat and are left near curtains or blankets thus causing a fire. Even a candle too close to the sofa can cause a fire if not cautious..

We recommend:

  1. Inspecting and repairing the electrical system periodically.
  2. A faulty electrical installation can cause an electrical fire. Installing smoke detectors. They are one of the most recommendable devices to prevent fires.Updating fire detection and extinguishing systems.
  3. Checking the gas installation. It is necessary to periodically verify that there are no loose couplings, leaking valves, non-functioning pilots in the gas installation. Watch out for stoves and portable heaters. Avoid connecting portable heaters to extension cords. Nor can they be placed on tables, chairs, and other objects where they might tip over.
  4. Check extension cords and multiple outlet plugs: all electrical elements and their connections deteriorate over time. These electrical cables must be reviewed and replaced to avoid posing a fire risk.

What to do in case of a fire

Facing a fire is never easy, but keeping calm and knowing what to do can make a big difference. If you find yourself in this situation, whether because flames have arisen in your home or nearby, it’s crucial to have tools such as an extinguisher or a fireproof blanket on hand. Moreover, knowing how to use them correctly is essential.

Remember, the most important thing is to evacuate the area safely and quickly. If the situation allows, try to extinguish the fire, but if it’s not possible, it’s vital to leave the premises immediately and call emergency services for help.

Prevention and preparation are key to ensuring safety in the face of a potential fire in your community or home. By following these guidelines and regulations, you can significantly reduce the risk of fire and its devastating consequences.

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