Fire Safety

Did you know?

  • You’re four times more likely to die in a fire if you don’t have a smoke alarm that works.
  • Around half of home fires are caused by cooking accidents.
  • Two fires a day are started by candles.
  • Every six days someone dies from a fire caused by a cigarette.
  • About two fires a day are started by heaters.
  • Appliances - faulty electrics (appliances, wiring and overloaded sockets) cause around 6,000 fires in the home across the country every year. Click here to find out more on appliances with recall notices/issues

    Our residents’ safety and security is a priority for us. It’s one of our top five corporate objectives to maintain and improve the safety of our homes. Have a read below how you can best prepare yourself and your home safe from fire hazards.

Smoke alarms

Working smoke alarms provide vital early warnings and give you extra time to escape if there is a fire. Every home should have at least one working smoke alarm per floor and you should make sure you test your smoke alarm monthly.

  • If you notice your smoke alarm not working or damaged please contact the Service Centre and they can best assist you.
    Find your contact number smoke alarm Service Centre.
  • Ten-year sealed battery smoke alarms are the best option. They are slightly more expensive, but you save on the cost of replacing batteries.
  • Never disconnect or take the batteries out of your alarm if it goes off by mistake.
  • Standard battery operated alarms are the cheapest option, but the batteries need to be replaced every year.
  • Strobe light and vibrating-pad alarms are available for those who are deaf or hard of hearing. Contact the Action on Hearing Loss Information Line on 0808 808 0123 or textphone 0808 808 9000.

  • Fitting your smoke alarm - The ideal position is on the ceiling, in the middle of a room, and on the hallway and landing, so you can hear an alarm throughout your home.
  • Don’t put alarms in or near kitchens or bathrooms where smoke or steam can set them off by accident.
  • Test them by pressing the button until the alarm sounds. If it doesn’t sound, you need to replace the battery.
  • If a smoke alarm starts to beep on a regular basis, you need to replace the battery immediately.
Balconies
  • Avoid using lifts and balconies if there is a fire.
  • Do not use a BBQ on a balcony as there could be a risk of starting a fire. If there are any smokers, always make sure to stub out cigarettes properly and dispose of them carefully.

Read more on how best to ensure your balconies are fire risk free.

Communal areas

 

  • Keep corridors and exits clear – Obstructions can block your escape route, fuel the fire and prevent the fire service getting in to put out the fire.
  • Don’t leave items like bikes, buggies or mobility scooters in communal corridors 
Monthly checks
  • Test your smoke alarm and any carbon monoxide detector monthly by pressing the button. If the alarm doesn’t sound, replace the battery – or contact us immediately if you have a mains-powered smoke alarm fitted, so we can arrange to fix it. This is the most important check you can do to protect yourself from fire or carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Replace the batteries each year or when the alarm sounds to show the batteries are running low.
  • If you notice your smoke alarm not working or damaged please contact the Service Centre and they can best assist you.
    Find your smoke alarm Service Centre contact number.
Plan your escape route
  • Smoke makes it difficult to see when trying to escape – so plan how you’d escape in the case of a fire and then practice it with your family
  • The best exit is usually the nearest exit but make sure you have a back-up plan in case its blocked. Ground floor windows would be appropriate in this case. First floor windows are also appropriate as an alternative route if you're physically capable. 
  • Make sure everyone knows the escape plan.
  • If there’s smoke, keep as low as possible as the air’s clearer there.
  • Check doors before you open them –if they’re hot, there’s fire on the other site so use your plan B exit.
  • If you’re the last one out, close the door behind you to stop the progress of the fire.
  • Raise the alarm, call 999 once out of danger and do not re-enter the property once you have left.
Avoid common causes of fire in your home
  • Check your electrical appliances for faults or loose/exposed wires. Don’t overload electrical sockets.
  • If you smoke, make sure to stub cigarettes completely out.
  • Avoid running appliances like washing machines or dryers at night or when no-one is home. Clean lint from tumble dryers.
  • Don’t burn candles in your home and keep soft furnishings away from anything that generates heat.
  • Make sure you take care in the kitchen – don’t leave cooking unattended and keep electrical appliances and leads away from water.
  • For more tips on avoiding the main causes of fire
Most common causes of fire in the home

In the kitchen

  • Take care if you’re wearing loose clothing near flames.
  • If you leave the kitchen take your cooking off the heat
  • Turn saucepan handles so they don’t stick out where they can be accidentally knocked.
  • Don’t leave children alone in the kitchen when cooking on the hob.
  • Spark devices are safer than matches or lighters, to light gas cookers. Always keep them out of children’s reach.
  • Keep tea towels and cloths away from hobs.
  • Double check the cooker’s off when you’ve finished cooking.
  • Keep the oven, hob and grill clean and in good working order as a build-up of fat and grease can start a fire.
  • Go careful when cooking with hot oil – it catches fire easily. If the oil starts to smoke, it’s too hot. Turn off the heat immediately and leave it to cool.
  • Preferably, use a thermostat controlled electric deep fat fryer, if they're in full working order with no defects then they shouldn't overheat.
  • If a pan catches fire, never throw water over it – it will make the fire much worse. If it’s safe to do so, turn off the heat and put your fire blanket over the pan. If it’s not safe, get out, stay out and call 999.
  • Keep electrics, like appliances, leads and sockets, away from water.
  • Don’t put anything metal into the microwave.
  • Check toasters are clean and placed away from flammable items. Also make sure there are no kitchen units above them.
 

Electrics

  • Unplugging appliances reduces the risk of fire – unplug them when you’re not using them, and particularly at night, when a fire can quickly spread unnoticed and cause more danger and damage.
  • Clean lint from tumble dryers and clean behind your fridge and freezer regularly to keep lint and dust from building up. Make sure there’s enough room behind these appliances for air to circulate freely.
  • Store electric blankets flat, rolled up or loosely folded to prevent damaging the internal wiring. Check them regularly for wear and tear and don’t buy them second hand. 
  • Unplug electric blankets before you go to bed, unless they have a thermostat control for safe all-night use.

Overloaded sockets

  • Don’t overload sockets. It’s best to keep to one plug per socket. 
  • An extension lead or adaptor will have a limit to how many amps it can take, so be careful not to overload them to reduce the risk of a fire.
  • Know the limit! 5AMP + 5AMP + 3AMP = 13AMP
  • Large appliances, like washing machines, should have a single plug to themselves, as they’re high powered. An extension lead or adaptor will have a limit to how many amps it can take, so don’t overload it.
Faulty appliances and wiring
  • Watch out for frayed or loose wiring and other danger signs such as scorch marks, hot plugs or sockets, flickering lights, blown fuses or tripped circuit breakers for no obvious reasons.
  • Check and replace old cables or leads, especially if they’re hidden behind furniture or under carpets. 
  • Make sure any electrical appliance has a British or European safety mark when you buy it
 

Candle safety

  • Make sure candles are in a proper holder and away from draughts and anything that could catch fire (such as curtains).
  • Put candles out when you leave the room.
  • Don’t leave children or pets alone with candles.
  • Make sure candles are out completely at night.
  • Use a snuffer or spoon - it’s safer than blowing them out, which can cause sparks to fly.
 

Heating and Gas safety

 

Heating

  • Secure portable heaters up against a wall to stop them from falling over.
  • Keep them away from bedding, curtains and clothing – anything which could catch fire.
  • Never use portable heaters for drying clothes and turn them off before you go to bed.
  • Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • If you want to fit your own gas appliances (like a fire in a spare fireplace), it's essential that you employ a 'Gas Safe' registered engineer to do the work.

Gas

  • If you have a gas supply, it's really important that you know where and how to turn it off in an emergency (it's usually located outside, where the gas pipes enter your property). A gas leak is a fire risk and carbon monoxide risk.

If you smell gas

  • DO call 0800 111 999 immediately (the Gas Network Provider freephone number)
  • DO put out naked flames (including cigarettes)
  • DO open all doors and windows
  • DO shut off your gas supply at the meter (this is usually located outside, where the gas pipes enter your property)
  • DON'T strike matches or light a cigarette
  • DON'T turn electrical switches on or off

 

 
Fire safety in flats and shared buildings
  • Don’t leave fire doors open – their purpose is to stop the spread of a fire. Let us know if you notice any damage or faults to fire doors or self-closer door fixings, so that we can fix them.
  • Make sure you know the fire safety arrangements for your block – do you know the evacuation policy? Read the fire action notices for your building, and if still unsure then please contact us.
  • Never use a lift to escape – you run the risk of being trapped.
  • If you have elderly or vulnerable residents, consider how you could safely help them in a case of emergency.
  • Keep all exits and communal corridors clear. Please let us know if you notice others are blocking corridors and if you’d like us to speak to them.
  • Keep mobility scooters out of corridors or near exits.
  • If you are concerned and an elderley resident or situated in a sheltered scheme resident, speak with your housing officer who will arrange a risk assessment to agree a plan or arrange a Home safety visit.
Make a bedtime check list
  • Close inside doors to prevent a fire spreading
  • Turn off and unplug electrical appliances (except fridge/freezer)
  • Make sure your cooker’s switched off
  • Don’t leave your washing machine on
  • Put candles and cigarettes out properly
  • Make sure exits are clear
  • Keep door and window keys where everyone can find them
Appliances with recall notices/issues

Whirlpool product recall notices

You may have seen adverts recently about some faulty Whirlpool and Hotpoint products that pose a potential fire risk.


Tumble dryers

If you have a Whirlpool or Hotpoint tumble dryer that was made before 2015 you need to check if it is one of the affected models.

If it is, you should unplug the machine and stop using it until it has been made safe. Whirlpool and Hotpoint have a variety of free replacement or repair options.

Find out how to check your tumble dryer


Washing machines

Some Hotpoint and Indesit brand washing machines made between 2014 and 2018 may pose a risk, and you should check if you have one of the affected models.

If you do, you should unplug the machine and stop using it until it has been made safe. You will have the choice of a free replacement, or a free repair.

Find out how to check your washing machine

 

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