Your safety is our number one priority. These are a few things you need to know about.
Fire safety is important in all homes. Where there are lots of people all living under one roof such as a block of flats it is even more important. A fire in one home could spread. Fire doors are there to protect you and anyone else that lives in the property.
If you live in a flat, front doors are particularly important fire doors because they protect you, and everyone else in your block, not only from fire but also from smoke. We routinely inspect fire doors to make sure they meet the required standards - however, you can also help.
In the Grenfell tragedy smoke spread through the building because some fire doors did not shut properly. Every fire door, including flat front doors and doors into stairwells in blocks, should be fitted with a self-closing device.
The most common type of closure is the one mounted to the top of the door like in picture 1, below. However, there are other types including ones that are more concealed inside the door – like the one in picture 2. In some sheltered schemes flat front doors will be fitted with the type of self-closer in picture 3; this allows the front door to open and shut easily but when the fire alarm goes off this shuts your flat front door automatically. If you are not sure, please speak to your community officer or house manager.
If you live in flat or bedsit we would like you to do three simple checks:
Is there a self-closing device on your flat front door?
If you open your front door and let it go, does it shut by itself (without any help from you) by the time you can count to twenty?
Does the door close all the way into the door frame? It shouldn’t stay open at all. For example, sometimes they can get stuck on the lock or stick on the frame.
If you answered ‘No’ to any of the questions in the box to the left please contact us as soon as you can so we can come and make sure your door closes properly. Call customer services on 01249 465465. Sometimes we find that people have disconnected the self-closure because the older-style ones can make the door feel heavy. If you have any concerns about your door please let us know.
Never block a fire door or wedge it open.
If you live in a house with three floors (often known as a town house) you should carry out the same checks on all the doors leading onto the stairwell. This is to allow people to escape down the stairs safely in the event of a fire.
All blocks of flats have details of the fire evacuation procedure displayed on the notice board. While we regularly check our blocks, please let us know if you cannot find this information. Please make sure you know where emergency exits are in your building. After the Grenfell tragedy, the London Fire Brigade reissued their advice that “you are usually safer staying put in your own flat or maisonette unless heat or smoke is affecting you”. This approach is also endorsed by our local fire services.
In line with this advice, we continue to operate a ‘stay put’ policy within our blocks. This means that you should stay in your home in the event of a fire in the block. However, if you are in any doubt – get out.
A personal emergency evacuation plan (or PEEP) is used to provide additional information to the fire services for individuals who may not be able to evacuate unaided. Could you evacuate the building unaided, in a prompt manner, during an emergency situation? If the answer is no, please contact us. Customers in our sheltered schemes should already have a PEEP in place if required. If in any doubt speak to your community officer.
As already noted, if you are in any doubt you are advised to get out. However, should you not be able to do so for any reason, you can help to limit smoke entering your property. Use damp towels or similar to block any gaps where smoke is entering the property such as under a door.
Please remember – you must keep the communal areas clear of any items. This is not only to prevent fire, but also to ensure clear access for fire fighters and anyone evacuating the building.
Prevention is the first step: do everything you can to prevent a fire happening in the first place. (See ‘fire prevention tips’ below.)
Fire service ‘safe and well’ visits help reduce the risk of fire in your home – checking and fitting smoke alarms and helping you make a fire escape plan, for example.
Firefighters can also provide advice and support on health and wellbeing:
Wiltshire 0800 038 2323
Gloucestershire 0800 180 4140
(These websites also have lots of other useful information and tips about staying safe in your home.)
Click here for further fire prevention hints and tips