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Safety in your home

Last updated on: 15-Feb-2021

6. Fire safety

Information about keeping you and your family safe in your home including what to do in the event of a fire and how to reduce the risk.

Our responsibility

As your landlord we are responsible for carrying out regular fire safety checks in the communal areas of buildings. We take fire safety very seriously and ensure the following:

  • Smoke alarms are installed to provide an early warning and detection of a fire, are tested annually and replaced before expiry.
  • Heat detectors and smoke alarms in communal areas are tested weekly and serviced regularly.
  • Gas boilers, pipework and other gas appliances are safety checked annually and before you move in.
  • Fire sprinklers systems installed in flats within high-rise blocks are inspected and serviced annually.
  • The electrical installation in your home is inspected every five years and where required to be upgraded in line with current standards.
  • Emergency lighting installed in communal areas to provide additional lighting in the event of an evacuation is tested and serviced on a regular basis.
  • Flat entrance fire doors are maintained to ensure they function correctly in the event of a fire and protect the common areas, allowing people time to escape.
  • Fire Risk Assessments are carried out within communal areas of all blocks of flats and sheltered housing. Their aim is to remove/reduce the risk of fire hazards and to determine what safety measures are needed to ensure the continued safety of everyone in the building.

Your responsibility

There are fire safety measures you can take to keep your home and family safe from risk of fire.

Smoke alarms

  • Test your smoke alarm weekly and change batteries annually or if the alarm bleeps intermittently. Never remove or tamper with your smoke alarm.

If there is an issue with your smoke alarm, report immediately to the Housing Repairs Team.

Smoking and candles

  • Never leave lit cigarettes, candles, incense burners unattended or place near furniture or curtains. Always ensure they are properly extinguished after use.
  • Never smoke in bed and keep matches and lighters well out of the reach of children.

Escape plan

Think ahead; make an escape plan so that everyone in your home knows what to do in the event of a fire.

  • Take everyone into account when making your plan - it is important to think about any children, the elderly or people with particular needs who may require extra help to get out.
  • Make sure you know where keys to any doors or windows are. (Never use a window to escape if you live in high-rise block – unless advised and assisted by the Emergency Services)
  • Keep all routes clear of anything that may hinder your escape, like furniture, clothing, prams, bicycles and ensure there are no loose floor coverings that could present a trip hazard.

Kitchen Safety

  • Consider using dry or air fryers over deep fat fryers, as they are deemed much safer to use.
  • Never fill a deep fat fryer or pan more than 1/3 of oil, or put food inside if the oil begins to give off smoke.
  • Never leave cooking unattended on the hob or grill, keep saucepan handles and matches out of the reach of children.
  • Never allow fat or oil to build up in ovens, hobs or grills and always ensure they are turned off after use.
  • Never put water on an oil fire as it could create a fireball. Turn off the burner immediately and put a heavy metal lid on the pan, cutting off the oxygen to the fire. Safer still, consider having a fire blanket in your kitchen.
  • Never put anything metal in a microwave and ensure toasters are kept clean and not placed near anything that can catch fire.
  • Use spark devices to light gas cookers – they are much safer than matches or lighters.

Electrical safety

  • If faulty or used incorrectly, electrical appliances can start fires. Look out for warning signs like fuses that blow for no obvious reason, flickering lights, hot or scorched plugs and worn/damaged cables.
  • Make sure all appliances are used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions and turned off after use, especially portable heaters and electric blankets.
  • Never overload sockets or extension leads. Remember – ‘one socket, one appliance’ is safest.
  • Always use chargers and cables supplied by the manufacturer and avoid using cheap alternatives as these can overheat.
  • Never place portable heaters near furniture or curtains and never place anything on top of them, such as to dry clothes.

BBQs and Open Fires

  • Never use BBQs on balconies, near buildings, fences, trees or shrubs.
  • Never use petrol, paraffin or any flammable liquids on your BBQ – firelighters are a much safer option.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher or bucket of water/sand nearby in case of emergencies.
  • Keep children and pets away from BBQ area and never leave unattended.

Fire safety in flats, maisonettes and communal areas

We have detailed information about safety compliance, serving and maintenance regimes for all residential blocks that are six stories or more.

General guidance for fire safety of all flats and buildings with communal areas can be found below:

Communal Areas

Communal passageways and stairways form part of the escape routes for everyone in your block. What you do in the communal areas will affect yourself and other residents.

  • Ensure they are always clear of items such as rubbish bags, prams, bicycles, mobility scooters or furniture. These may block your exit and emit toxic smoke/gasses during a fire.
  • Always report items blocking exits and your route of escape to the Housing Repairs Team.
  • Never wedge open fire doors. These are designed to close behind you and effectively slow the spread of smoke and fire.
  • Ensure you keep meter cupboard doors closed and cupboards are free of flammable items.

Flat Entrance Doors

Your flat should have a self-closing fire door complete with fire rated hinges, sleeved letter box including internal and external flaps, smoke and fire seals.

  • Never remove or tamper with the door closer. The closer must be capable of closing the door securely into its frame from any open position.
  • Always report missing items or any damage to the front door and frame immediately to the Housing Repairs Team.

Fire sprinklers

If your flat is fitted with a fire sprinkler system, in the event of a fire the temperature is raised to a level that activates the fire sprinkler head, releasing sufficient water spray to extinguish a small fire.

  • Never tamper, obstruct, paint or wallpaper over sprinkler heads.
  • Never attempt to turn the sprinkler system off and always report any damage or leaks as soon as possible.

Balconies

  • Never use a BBQ or disposable types on your balcony.
  • Never store combustible items on your balcony or use it as a fire escape.

What to do in the event of a fire

  1. Always ensure you have an escape plan for your home and know the evacuation procedure for your block of flats.
  2. For residents in a block of flats the evacuation procedure will be displayed on the Fire Action Notice, located in the communal area or near the main entrance.
  3. Alert everyone else in your house or flat and leave the building, closing doors behind you.
  4. Use the stairs to exit – never be tempted to use the lift in the possible event of a fire.
  5. Never open doors looking for the source of the fire, stop to gather belongings or go back into the building until you have been told by the emergency services, it’s safe to do so.
  6. If you have to move through smoke, keep as low as possible where the air is cleaner to help with breathing.
  7. Find a phone and call 999 when you are safely out of the building.

What to do in the event of a fire elsewhere in the building

The best way to keep safe is to follow the evacuation plan for your building. If your flat becomes affected by smoke or you think you may be in danger, leave at once, closing windows and doors behind you.

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