Your safety is paramount; all residents should be and feel safe in their homes. Please read through the information in this section to see what we do to keep you safe and what you should do to protect yourself.
When you first moved into your home, you'll have been given information about what to do in the event of a fire. These vary from home to home so you are strongly advised to familiarise yourself with those for your property. In blocks of flats, this information should be prominently displayed in communal areas.
Below are some ways you can make your environment safer.
Prevent fires from starting
Preventing fires from starting in the first place is the most effective thing you can do. You’ll find a host of useful tips, information and fire safety leaflets on the London Fire Brigade’s website. Please read our advice below:
- Keep communal areas including entrances, corridors, hallways and riser cupboards clear of any items that might block escape routes or help a fire to spread. Such items include furniture, buggies, bikes, wheelchairs and shoes.
- Keep balconies clear to reduce the risk of fire spreading on the outside of your building.
- Keep fire doors closed at all times and don’t prop them open. This is crucial in preventing the spread of fire.
- Don’t tamper with your main front door as this could reduce its effectiveness as a fire door.
- Contact your housing officer or property management officer if your fire door or main entrance is damaged so that we can get it fixed for you.
- Never leave open flames such as candles unattended.
- Check your electrical appliances and devices are in a good condition and remember to switch them off when you go out.
- Keep an eye on pans on the cooker and take care when cooking with hot oil.
- Turn off electric sockets when you are not using them.
- Don’t cover up heaters.
- Make sure cigarettes are properly extinguished.
- If your lease or tenancy agreement doesn’t allow you to use a barbeque, please respect that. Never have a barbeque on balconies or roof terraces.
Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
Make sure your home has both smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and test them regularly. You can do this by pressing the ‘test’ button on the detector. You’ll find more advice about smoke and carbon monoxide detectors on the London Fire Brigade website at www.london-fire.gov.uk. You can also request a free smoke detector via this site.
Understand fire safety procedures in your home
Procedures vary between properties, so please make sure you read and understand the information for your home carefully. There are fire action notices in all our homes. If you live in a block, you’ll find a fire action notice on your communal noticeboard. If you can’t find a fire action notice in your home, please contact your housing officer or property management officer. Please also ensure that your family and any visitors know what to do if there’s a fire.
Talk to us
Our housing teams are here to help you, so please let your housing officer or property management officer know if:
- You spot a fire hazard such as items stored in communal areas or fire doors being propped open.
- You plan to carry out alterations or improvements to your home – this is important so that we can check that your plans won’t affect any fire stopping or safety features in your home. If you’ve previously made an alteration without telling us, please contact us now so that we can check that it hasn’t created a fire risk.
What we do
We undertake regular checks known as fire risk assessments on all the properties we own or manage. These are carried out by suitably qualified professionals. If they find anything that they think poses a risk, we act quickly to fix it. We also regularly inspect our larger blocks to check that escape routes are kept clear.
We install smoke or heat detectors in all our new homes and our supported housing properties where our more vulnerable residents live. Front entrance doors to flats and communal fire doors in new homes are designed to hold back the spread of smoke and fire, and we check those during our regular inspections. In older homes, our regular checks will pick up any issues around fire safety.
We also put posters in communal areas and on noticeboards in all blocks, with useful advice on fire safety and what you should do in case of a fire, and we work closely with the London Fire Brigade to check our plans for fire safety and ensure they remain up to date and effective.
In the event of fire – stay put or evacuate?
Stay put policies are generally recommended by the London Fire Brigade for purpose-built properties that have been designed to contain fires.
If the fire is not in your home, but in another part of the building, you will usually be safer staying in your home unless the heat or smoke is affecting you. Homes with a stay put policy are designed to contain fires where they start and prevent them spreading. The floors, walls and doors in such homes can usually hold back flames and smoke for up to 30 minutes.
If there’s fire or smoke inside your home, get everyone out and leave the building as calmly as possible. Close the door behind you and leave the building using the nearest safe fire exit. Don’t use the lift. Once you’re outside, call 999, tell the emergency services your address and say which floor the fire is on.
If your home operates an evacuation policy, you should leave the building in the event of a fire, no matter which part of the building it’s in. Go to a place outside which is away from the building and dial 999 to notify the fire service. Stay there until they arrive and follow their instructions.
Check your fire action notice for details of which policy is used in your home. If you live in a block, you’ll find information on your communal noticeboard.
Fire alarms and extinguishers
In buildings where we operate a ‘stay put’ policy in the event of fire, we don’t generally install fire alarms in communal areas. Homes with a ‘stay put’ policy are designed to contain fire and prevent its spread, so there’s no need for communal fire alarms.
The London Fire Brigade advises against installing fire extinguishers in residential blocks. This is because there are different types of extinguisher for different types of fire and you need to be trained to use them. A fire could be made worse if it’s not tackled in the right way. The London Fire Brigade prefer to deal with fires themselves.
To make sure appliances in your home are working safely, it's essential that you have a gas safety check each year and keep a valid gas safety certificate.
Protect yourself from gas leaks
If you think you can smell gas, you should:
- Call the National Grid immediately on 0800 111 999
- Turn off the gas at your meter
- Open all windows.
If you smell gas, do not:
- Switch on or off lights, appliances or other electrical items
- Bring naked flames (like matches or cigarette lighters) into your home.
Once you've contacted the National Grid they'll send someone to check for leaks. If they find any leaks they will turn off your gas supply and ask you to contact us or your gas contractor.
Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas. It's colourless, odourless and tasteless but it can be fatal.
Carbon monoxide can escape from appliances like boilers and fires if they are not working properly. Carbon monoxide gas can also be produced if your gas appliance is faulty, or if the chimney or flue is blocked.
The danger signs of carbon monoxide are:
- Gas flames that normally burn blue, burning orange or yellow
- Sooty stains on or above appliances.
To make sure everything is working safely it's essential that you have a valid gas safety certificate by getting a gas safety check done every year.
We provide at least a night latch for the door of tenants' homes. You may want to fit more locks on doors and windows for extra security.
If you lose your door keys or get locked out of your home, you'll need to arrange for someone to get in and change the lock. If you have any difficulties, we may be able to arrange for a locksmith to do the work for you but we will charge you the full cost.
If you share a front door with other tenants, it is against fire regulations to fit certain types of locks. You must always consult us before changing a lock or fitting a new lock on a shared front door.
Know who's visiting
To stay safe in your home, it's important to check the identity of all callers before you let them in.
Our staff members carry identity cards with photographs that they should show you, as should representatives from other organisations such as gas and electricity companies, the local council and contractors we hire.
If you're suspicious of somebody calling at your home, do not let him/her in, but call the police or the organisation that they claim to represent.
If you'd like more advice on what you can do to protect your home, contact the Crime Prevention Officer at your local police station. Your housing officer or property management officer (PMO) may also be able to point you to other available help.