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8 September 2017, 06:39
Members of the public have been urged to give their views on creating a blanket standard for fire and smoke alarms across all homes in Scotland.
The Scottish Government consultation on the issue was fast-tracked in the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy and opens on Friday.
Currently, stricter standards apply for new-build homes and privately-rented housing than those for social rented properties and homeowners, which a senior housing figure described as a "long-standing anomaly"
The consultation will examine whether the same standard should apply to all types of housing.
Views are also being sought on the type and location of alarms, how often they should be replaced and how people could be encouraged to comply with a stricter standard.
Housing Minister Kevin Stewart said: "Scotland has rigorous standards for smoke and fire alarms developed over time, with new-build and private-rented housing at the highest standard.
"I want everyone to benefit from the same level of protection - so this consultation proposes that the same standard should apply for everyone, whether you own your home, or rent from a social or private landlord.
"Fires and fatalities from fires are decreasing but there were still more than 5,600 fires in homes in Scotland with 39 fatalities last year, and every death is one too many.
"As we saw from the tragic events at Grenfell Tower, building and fire safety is of utmost importance, which is why this consultation has been brought forward as a priority. I encourage everyone to have their say."
Following the fire at Grenfell Tower in London, thought to have claimed the lives of at least 80 people, the Scottish Government set up a Ministerial Working Group on building and fire safety which agreed to fast-track the planned consultation on fire and smoke alarm standards.
Annie Mauger, Chartered Institute of Housing Scotland executive director, welcomed the move.
She said: "This consultation seeks to address a long-standing anomaly in the relative levels of protection against fire and smoke that the law currently provides for different tenures of housing.
"It has to be sensible that residents should receive the same level of protection irrespective of the type of housing tenure they occupy."