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Fire safety in your home

Fire kills. By keeping your home safe and tidy you reduce the risk of fire in your home.  

Fire safety at home

Most fires in the home can be prevented. To reduce the risk you should: 

  • regularly remove any waste which can burn from living areas and property access and dispose of it in the right bin
  • keep the areas around your electricity meter, gas meter, and electrical distribution board clear at all times
  • do not store excessive amounts of turpentine, brush cleaner or other flammable material in your home. Any you do have should be stored outside where possible in suitable sealed containers
  • as part of your tenancy agreement you must not use bottled gas, paraffin, petrol or other dangerous substances in your home or the shared areas
  • lights and candles are positioned away from curtains and other materials that can catch fire easily
  • matches and lighters are out of children’s reach
  • upholstered furniture is fire-resistant-check for the fire-resistant label
  • candles and cigarettes are properly extinguished at night
  • gas and electric meter and electrical distribution board areas kept clear. 

If you spot any problems put them right straight away. 

Smoke alarms

All our properties are fitted with smoke alarms and we will inspect, service and test them each year so they stay in working order.

We recommend you test your smoke alarms weekly by pressing the test button situated in the middle of the smoke alarm until you hear a loud beeping. 

If you hear an intermediate bleep from your smoke alarm, this could mean that the back-up battery in the alarm needs replacing. If this happens, or there is a fault on the alarm, telephone us on 01623 457999. Faults with any installed alarms need to be reported to us as soon as they happen to make sure the alarms operate safely and keep you safe too.

In the kitchen

There are ways you can reduce the risk of fire in your kitchen: 

  • cooker, grill and toaster are cleaned regularly and switched off at night
  • keep tea towels, cloths and electric cables away from cooker hobs and toaster
  • area above cooker is clear of waste that can burn
  • if you deep fry food, pat it dry before you put it in the hot oil. If the oil starts to smoke, turn off the heat and leave the pan to cool
  • never fill chip pans more than one-third full of oil
  • never leave the pan unattended when heat is switched on
  • don’t take risks. If the pan catches fire, turn off the heat, get everyone out of your home and call 999 asking for the Fire and Rescue Service
  • for a safer cooking method use a deep fat fryer which is controlled by thermostatic cut-off devices. This is a much safer alternative to conventional chip pan cooking methods
  • NEVER throw water over a chip pan fire.

Electrical safety

  • no more than one plug per wall socket
  • appliances running off adaptors do not exceed 13 amps in total
  • fuses are the correct rating for each appliance
  • no loose, damaged or taped up cables or leads
  • no scorch marks on plugs or sockets
  • electrical appliances unplugged when not being used.

In the event of a fire

Get out, stay out, call 999.

  • try to keep calm and get everybody out as quickly as possible
  • if there is smoke, keep low to the ground where the air will be clearer
  • don’t waste time investigating the fire or trying to rescue valuables
  • only open doors to escape. Keeping doors closed slows the spread of fire
  • test each door you need to go through with the back of your hand before opening it. Do not open the door if it is warm/hot as this may indicate that fire is on the other side
  • call 999 and ask for the Fire and Rescue Service. 

Escape routes and blocked escape routes

  • If you can’t get out, get everyone into one room, ideally with a window and a phone
  • put bedding around the bottom of the door to block out the smoke, then open the window and shout ‘Help! Fire!’
  • if you’re on the ground or first floor, you may be able to escape through a window
  • if you cannot open a window, break the glass in the bottom corner and make sure any jagged edges are made safe by covering them with a blanket or towel
  • use bedding to cushion your fall and lower yourself down carefully. Do not jump.

Sheltered schemes and general needs blocks of flats

Although we will always make every effort to make sure that appropriate measures are taken to minimise fire safety risks in and around our sheltered accommodation buildings and general needs blocks of flats, there are some very important yet basic steps you can take to help reduce the risk of a fire starting and spreading within the building you live in.

By keeping your living and communal areas safe and tidy and following these steps, you can significantly reduce the risk of a fire occurring.

  • check what the Emergency Evacuation Plan is for your sheltered scheme ( Sheltered Scheme Fire Action Notice [PDF 109Kb] or flat ( Flat Complexes Fire Action Notice [PDF 148Kb] and familiarise yourself with all the information provided on the Fire Action Notices posted in the communal areas of your sheltered scheme or block of flats
  • flat entrance doors form part of protected escape routes along communal corridors and stairwells, so please do not wedge your flat door open or interfere with the door’s self-closing device, as this can compromise fire safety in your home and along escape routes should heat and smoke be allowed to spread into the communal areas (in the event of a fire)
  • fire doors along communal corridors also form part of protected escape routes and must be kept closed when not in use (unless they are designed to be held open by a mechanical device which releases the door(s) when the fire alarm activates). Please do not wedge communal fire doors open as this also significantly compromises fire safety in the building
  • make sure communal doors, such as main entrance doors, access doors to bin stores and storage cupboards, are kept closed and secured or locked, to prevent unauthorised access at all times
  • make sure waste that can burn is disposed of in the appropriate waste bins
  • make sure waste items such as unwanted furniture are not left in communal areas as this is a clear fire risk and can block off or obstruct emergency escape routes. These should be disposed of safely by booking a bulky waste collection or taking them to the nearest recycling centre or tip
  • make sure your flat entrance door closes correctly. You must never interfere with or disconnect flat entrance door self closing devices
  • familiarise yourself with all the information provided on the Fire Action posters in your sheltered scheme or flat
  • Test you smoke alarm regularly. Any faults identified with the smoke alarm or with any other fire safety arrangements such as your flat entrance door, communal fire doors or self-closing devices should be reported immediately to our Repairs Call Handling Centre on 01623 457999.