Fire safety and prevention

Our customer’s safety is our top priority, and this includes fire safety. Here is some helpful information to keep yourself, your family and your home fire safe.

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

An escape plan

If your smoke alarm went off during the night it is best to have an escape plan ready.

  • 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

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
  • Remember – stop, drop and roll

Preventing fires

These can be any appliance, such as electric blankets, TV’s or candles.

  • Always check that you use the right fuse to prevent 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 are high powered
  • 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
  • Appliances use different amounts of power. A television may use a 3 amp plug and a vacuum cleaner a 5 amp plug
  • Keep electrical appliances clean and in good working order to prevent them triggering 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
  • Check and replace any old cables and leads, especially if they are hidden from view, behind furniture or under carpets and mats
  • Unplug appliances when you are not using them or when you go to bed at night, it helps to reduce the risk of fire

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

Try not to 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

Put candles out when you leave the room and make sure they are put out completely at night

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 Always ensure furniture has the fire-resistant permanent label

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

Preventing common fires in your kitchen

  • Take extra care if you need to leave the kitchen whilst cooking, take pans off the heat or turn them down to avoid risk
  • 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

So what should you do if a pan catches fire?

Follow these steps:

  • 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

High rise blocks

It is correct to say that high rise blocks are built with fire safety in mind, and the design of our buildings is such that a fire should be contained to an individual unit.

This means that it will normally be safer to stay in your flat if a fire breaks out elsewhere in the building unless you are the occupant of the flat that’s on fire. However, if you become aware of a fire and feel unsafe then leave the building if it is safe to do so.

  • Do not use lifts and balconies if there is a fire
  • It is easy to get confused in smoke so count how many doors you need to go through to reach the stairs
  • Do familiarise yourself with the information on the fire safety notices in your block/scheme

Common areas

We have a sterile policy to common areas. This means that the corridors, stairwells and stairs are kept clear of rubbish and belongings. This is for the safety of everyone so that fire exit routes are not blocked and that no flammable materials are in these areas.

Do not wedge fire doors open. Fire doors are there for protection, to provide a safe escape route and to limit the spread of fire.

Fires in common areas

If a fire starts in any of the common areas, occupants in these areas who become aware of the fire may leave the building providing it is safe to do so. In this circumstance, occupants would be expected to make their own way out of the building.

Do not use the lifts.

Once safely outside the building, contact the Fire and Rescue Service to report the fire.

Fires in individual flats

Should there be a fire in your actual flat, you should alert everyone in your flat and leave the flat if you feel it is safe to do so.

Close all doors behind you, do not stop to collect belongings and leave the building.

Do not use the lifts. Once safely outside the building, contact the Fire and Rescue Service to report the fire. If you are not directly affected by the fire in either of these two scenarios, you could ‘stay put’ and remain in your flat unless directed to leave by the Fire and Rescue Service.

However, should you feel unsafe in any way and wish to leave the building and alert neighbours and you feel it is safe to do so, exit the building in the same way as explained above.

In all cases do not re-enter the building until instructed by the Fire and Rescue Service.

For more advice or if you have any questions or comments about fire safety, please visit Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service’s website, or contact us.