Managing fire safety in your home

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Your safety is our highest priority. We do everything we reasonably can to help prevent fires and make sure you remain safe if there is a fire. There are also several things you can do to help avoid fires and stay safe in an emergency.

Did you know? 

  • Most fires start when people are cooking
  • Every 6 days someone dies in a fire that was started by a cigarette
  • Faulty electrical appliances cause around 6,000 house fires every year

Please read this advice and make sure you and your family know what to do, and how to escape, if there is a fire. 

  • What we do

    We do everything we can to help prevent fires happening. All our homes are fire safety checked before we let them. This includes testing electrical wiring and ensuring all doors and means of escape are working. We also fit a smoke and heat detector before you move in.

    In blocks of flats, we make sure that common areas and general building facilities are well maintained. A specialist team of Fire Risk Assessors make sure that your building meets fire safety standards and is as safe as possible in the event of a fire. This is called a Fire Risk Assessment and all Midland Heart blocks of flats with common areas have one.

    Your local housing manager and the Rangers service also have an important role in keeping you safe. They check fire alarms and emergency lighting on a monthly basis and make sure all fire escape routes are free from obstructions so you can escape in an emergency.

    Our specialist contractors service fire alarms and lifesaving systems on a regular basis. In individual homes, gas servicing contractors test batteries in smoke and heat detectors as part of the gas service.

  • What you can do

    We work hard to help keep you safe in your home, but you have an important role in keeping you, your neighbours and any family safe too.

    It’s really important that you keep your escape routes clear of obstructions and items that can burn so you can escape quickly and easily in an emergency. You should never put any rubbish or unwanted belongings in corridors, under stairs or in any part of the building other than dedicated bin areas. Doing this puts lives at risk.

    Contact us if you see anyone leaving rubbish in common areas or you need help removing bulky rubbish. We can ask the person who left the rubbish to remove it or help you to dispose of your rubbish.

    If you live in a flat with common areas, you will have a fire door fitted. Make sure they close properly, keep them closed when not in use and never wedge them open. If your fire door doesn’t close properly, contact the Repairs Hub at hubrepairs@midlandheart.org.uk as soon as possible.

  • Tips to help prevent fires

    Cooking 

    • Avoid cooking when under the influence of alcohol
    • Avoid leaving children alone in the kitchen when cooking
    • Keep matches and saucepan handles out children’s reach
    • Make sure saucepan handles don’t stick out so they don’t get knocked off the hob
    • Take care if you’re wearing loose clothing that can easily catch fire
    • Keep tea towels and cloths away from the cooker and hob
    • Spark devices are safer than matches or lighters because they don’t have a naked flame
    • Double check the cooker is off when you’ve finished cooking

     

    Cigarettes 

    • Extinguish cigarettes properly and fully and dispose of them carefully
    • Never smoke in bed
    • Use a proper ashtray, never a wastepaper basket and 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 as they can easily fall over
    • Take extra care if you smoke when you’re tired, taking prescription drugs, or if you’ve been drinking - you could fall asleep and cause a fire
    • Keep matches and lighters out of children’s reach
    • Consider buying child resistant lighters and match boxes
    • Take care and always follow instructions when using e-cigarettes as they contain a heated element which can cause fires

     

    Electrical appliances 

    • Keep electrical appliances clean and in good working order
    • Look out for dangerous or loose wiring, scorch marks, hot plugs and sockets, fuses that blow or circuit-breakers that trip for no obvious reason or flickering lights
    • Check and replace old cables and leads, especially if they are hidden from view behind furniture or under carpets and mats
    • Unplug appliances when not in use
    • Avoid using extension leads or multi-socket adaptors if you can and NEVER plug one extension lead or multi-socket adaptor into another
    • This socket calculatorwill help you find out if you're overloading your sockets
    • Register any new electrical item that you purchase, so a manufacturer can easily get in touch if there are any issues, and you can check the latest recalled products too
    • Click here for more hints and tips

     

    Candles 

    The best way to avoid fires from candles is to never use them in your home. Even during a power-cut a torch is a much safer option. 

    • If you do use a candle, make sure it’s secured in a proper holder and away from materials like curtains that may catch fire
    • Extinguish candles when you leave the room – never leave them unattended and make sure they’re put out completely at night
    • Don’t leave children alone with lit candles
    • Keep pets away from lit candles

     

    Cannabis factories and meter tampering 

    Growing cannabis and tampering with electric meters is illegal and poses a big fire risk. If you suspect anyone in your building is growing cannabis or tampering with electrical equipment, report it to Midland Heart immediately. Look out for these signs: 

    • Strong sickly smells of cannabis
    • Covered up windows
    • High levels of security on the property e.g. extra door locks
    • Lots of condensation on windows
    • Bright lights on day and night
    • Lots of visitors coming and going, sometimes at unusual hours
    • Constant buzzing or whirring noises of ventilation equipment
    • An electric meter that looks unusual or different to the rest, with extra wires or cables
    • Lots of equipment being taken into a flat e.g. plastic sheeting, big lamps and sacks of compost
  • Smoke detectors

    We provide smoke and heat detectors in your home. If they start to beep for no apparent reason, the battery may need replacing. This is your responsibility – the beeping may be annoying and an inconvenience but detectors play a vital role in alerting you of a fire.

    Do not ignore the beeping or disconnect the detector. Change the battery, it could save your life. If you think your smoke or heat detector is faulty, contact Midland Heart.

  • What to do if there is a fire

    If you live in a house or bungalow

    Warn all other occupants and visitors straight away and then evacuate the building as quickly and safely as possible. Once safe to do so, call the Fire Service on 999.

    If you live in a flat 

    If you discover a fire, raise the alarm immediately and move to a safe place. The current advice in fire legislation recommends that we assess the risk to your building and decide if it is safer for you to remain in the building while the Fire Service deal with the fire or for you to evacuate immediately.

    If your building has a stay put evacuation strategy, we recommended you remain in your flat unless

    • Directed to leave by the Fire Service
    • You will be affected by the fire and feel it is safe for you to leave
    • You wish to leave the building and it is safe for you to do so

    We advise customers of the evacuation strategy during your building induction. If you are unsure what to do in the event of a fire, check the fire notice at the side of the fire alarm panel, near the entrance to your scheme or contact FRA.management@midlandheart.org.uk.

  • Plan your escape route
    • Plan an escape route and make sure everyone knows how to escape
    • Make sure exits are kept clear
    • The best route is the normal way in and out of your home
    • Think of a second route in case the first one is blocked
    • Take a few minutes to practise your escape plan with your friends and family
    • Review your plan if the layout of your home changes
  • Following the recent tower block cladding fires, am I safe?

    Recent fires, which spread because of cladding on tower blocks, have been a concern for all housing providers. We have visited all our blocks of flats that are above 4 storeys high to check the cladding. Where there has been any concern about the type of cladding, we have consulted with the local Fire Service and made sure that we have agreed a safe plan of action in each case.

    We are certain that, in the light of the recent tower block fires, the Government will give further advice to owners of these buildings. As your landlord, we will take steps to follow advice when it becomes available.

More information

If you have any questions or want more information, contact the Fire Risk Assessment Team at Midland Heart by emailing FRA.management@midlandheart.org.uk.