Fire safety

There are lots of ways to prevent kitchen fires taking place. Although you can’t remove every possible source of a kitchen fire, you can minimize fire risks by removing hazards and maintaining your kitchen. Follow these prevention tips to make sure you stay safe in the kitchen: 

  • Take extra care if you need to leave the kitchen whilst cooking, take pans off the heat or turn them down
  • Make sure pan handles don’t stick out so they don’t get knocked off the stove
  • Take care if wearing loose clothing as it can easily catch fire
  • Keep towels and cloths away from the cooker or hob
  • Spark devices are safer than matches or lighters to light gas cookers because they don’t have a naked flame
  • Double check the cooker is off when you’ve finished cooking
  • Keep electrics (leads and appliances) away from water
  • Check toasters are clean and placed away from flammable materials such as curtains
  • Keep the oven, hob and grill clean and in good working order. A build-up of fat and grease can ignite a fire
  • Don’t put anything metal in the microwave

If a pan catches fire: 

  • Don’t take any risks. Turn off the heat if it is safe to do so
  • Never throw water over it
  • Alert other people in the property
  • Leave the kitchen, closing the door behind you
  • Phone the Fire and Rescue Service to report the fire

Part of fire safety is preventing fires through appliances in your home, from electric blankets to candles. There are lots of steps you can take to prevent fire spreading. Keep reading to find out more… 

Plugs and appliances 

  • Always check that you use the correctly rated plug fuse to prevent appliances from overheating
  • Make sure electrical appliances have a British or European safety mark when you buy them
  • Try and keep to one plug per socket. Certain appliances, such as washing machines, should have a single plug to themselves, as they require a large amount of power to operate
  • An extension lead or adaptor will have a limit to how much electrical load it can take. So be careful not to overload them to reduce the risk of a fire
  • Use and maintain appliances in accordance with manufacturer user instructions to prevent them causing a fire
  • Check for signs of dangerous or loose wiring such as scorch marks, hot plugs and sockets, fuses that blow or circuit breakers that trip for no obvious reason, or flickering lamps/lights
  • Visually check appliance cables and leads and seek advice from a qualified electrician if these appear damaged
  • Unplug appliances when you are not using them or when you go to bed at night, it helps to reduce the risk of fire
  • Always ensure furniture has the fire-resistant permanent label

Using electric blankets 

  • Don’t leave electric blankets folded as this damages the internal wiring. Store them flat or rolled up instead
  • Unplug blankets before you get into bed, unless it has a thermostat control for safe all-night use
  • Do not buy second hand blankets and check regularly for wear and tear

 Portable heaters 

  • Try to secure heaters against a wall to stop them falling over
  • Keep them clear from flammable materials such as curtains and furniture and never use them for drying clothes

 Candles 

  • Make sure candles are secured in a proper holder and away from materials that may catch fire like curtains
  • Ensure candles are fully extinguished when you are finished using them and never leave a candle burning when you go out or go to bed.
  • Use a snuffer or a spoon to put out candles, it’s safer than blowing them out as sparks can fly
  • Children should never be left alone with candles

 Cigarettes, matches and lighters 

  • Stub cigarettes out properly and dispose of them carefully
  • Never smoke in bed
  • Use a proper ashtray, never a waste paper basket/bin
  • Make sure your ashtray can’t tip over and is made of a material that won’t burn
  • Don’t leave a lit cigarette, cigar or pipe lying around. They can easily fall over and start a fire
  • Take extra care if you smoke when you’re tired, taking prescription drugs or if you’ve been drinking. You might fall asleep and set something on fire
  • Keep matches and lighters out of the reach of children and consider buying child-resistant lighters and match boxes

Fire safety in your tower block 

We always look to prevent fires in high-rise properties by encouraging residents to avoid common sources of fires, such as chip pans and faulty electrical fires. 

However, tower blocks have been built and assessed with fire safety in mind, so that if there is a fire, it is unlikely to spread to any other flats or common areas. 

You must ensure that you are familiar with the Fire Safety Notices within your building. 

Fire in your own flat 

  1. If there is a fire in your own flat, you should alert everyone else in your flat and leave the flat and building straightaway. 
  2. As you leave your flat, close all doors behind you, as this will slow the spread of smoke and fire.
  3. You must never stop and collect belongings, use balconies or any lifts, as doing so may prevent or delay your escape. 
  4. Once safely outside the building, contact the Fire Service on 999 to report the fire.

Fire in another flat or in a common area 

  1. If there is a fire in another flat or  common area, it is usually safer to remain in your own flat until the Fire Service arrives.
  2. However, if you become aware of a fire or smoke entering your own flat, or you feel unsafe, then you should leave the building straightaway, where possible. 
  3. In either case, if you are aware of a fire in another flat, you should contact the Fire Service on 999 to report the fire.

In all cases 

  1. Do not enter or re-enter the building if there is a potential fire until the Fire Service have arrived and advised it is safe to do so. 
  2. Do not use lifts, balconies or stop to collect belongings, as doing so may prevent or delay your escape. 
  3. Do familiarise yourself with the Fire Safety Notices and the layouts of your flat and building. 

Importance of sterile policy in communal areas 

There is a sterile area policy in place across all the common areas in our buildings to help reduce fire risk and the blocking of escape routes. 

This means that the corridors, stairwells and stairs must be kept clear of rubbish and belongings at all times. 

No doors in common areas, including exits, should be wedged, or held open, as these are designed to limit smoke and fire spread and aid safe escape.  

Wedging doors open, including exits, is a common cause of damage to the hinges and frames of these valuable measures, which can prevent them from being closed properly or causing them to become stuck when needed. 

Making sure every tenant is safe in their home is really important to us, because we know that feeling secure, comfortable and confident is key to mental wellbeing and happiness. 

As we enter into the summer months, we want to make sure everyone can enjoy BBQ’s and the sun safely with their friends and loved ones. 

If you have any questions about safety in your home, contact us using the form below or call 0300 123 5522. 

Do you know what you would do if your smoke alarm went off during the night? Take a look at planning a safe escape from your home by following the steps below. 

Be prepared by making a plan of escape by: 

  • Plan an escape route and make sure everyone knows how to escape
  • Make sure exits are kept clear
  • Keep door and window keys where everyone can find them
  • The best route is the normal route in and out of your home
  • Think of a second route in case the first one should become blocked
  • Take a few minutes to practice your escape plan
  • Review your plan if the layout of your home changes
  • Close internal doors at night, as these can help to stop a fire from spreading

What to do if there is a fire 

  • Don’t tackle fires yourself. Leave it to the Fire Service
  • Keep calm and act quickly. Get everyone out as soon as possible
  • Don’t waste time investigating what’s happened or rescuing valuables
  • If there is smoke, keep low where the air is clearer. Before you open a door, check if it’s warm. If it is, don’t open it – the fire is on the other side
  • Call 999 and report the fire as soon as you are clear of the building
  • Do not return to your home until instructed by the Fire Service

What to do if your escape is blocked 

  • If you can’t get out, get everyone into one room, ideally with a window and a phone
  • Put bedding or similar around the bottom of the door to block out the smoke. Phone 999 for the Fire Service or, if there is no phone, open the window and call “HELP! FIRE!”
  • If you’re on the ground floor, you may be able to escape through a window
  • Use bedding or something similar to cushion your fall and lower yourself down carefully
  • If you can’t open the window, break the glass in the bottom corner. Make jagged edges safe with towels or blankets

What to do if your clothes catch fire 

  • Don’t run around, you’ll make the flames worse
  • Lie down and roll around, it makes it harder for the fire to spread
  • Smother the flames with a heavy material, like a coat or blanket

All smoke alarms are checked every 12 months and this is normally carried out with the annual gas servicing. There is a programme in place for checking smoke alarms for properties that do not have gas. 

If your property does not have gas and you want to find out when your smoke alarm will be checked, please contact us on 0300 123 55 22. 

Looking after your smoke alarm: 

  • Test your smoke alarm by pressing the test button until the alarm sounds. Why not make this part of your household routine and do it at least once a week?
  • Never disconnect your smoke alarm or take the batteries out, it’s important that your smoke alarm is active at all times.
  • If your mains powered smoke alarm does not sound when you test it or it bleeps constantly, or if there is any other fault, please contact us through the ‘Report it’ tab on the right hand side of this page.