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Fire safety

Repairs and maintenance

This fact sheet provides advice on how to reduce the risk of fire in your home, and what to do in the event of a fire.

Your risk assessment should include identifying: ■ ■

What can I do to stay safe? Fires can’t always be prevented, but we can all take simple steps to help keep ourselves and our families safe: ■

Ensure your smoke alarms are in good working order ■

Prevent fires by carrying out a risk assessment

Take action to reduce any risks

Make a fire action plan

Be aware of the fire risks outside your home.

Fire hazards: Things which could start a fire (sources of ignition), e.g. gas cookers, matches, cabling for electrical appliances Things which can burn easily (combustible materials), e.g. blankets, clothing, furniture, paper files, magazines Sources of oxygen, e.g. an oxygen cylinder for health reasons. Follow the instructions and always keep away from naked flames or old chimney flues which can get very hot. People who may present a higher risk:

In the event of a fire, get out, stay out and call 999.

Young children and babies

Do I have to check my smoke alarm(s)?

Elderly people

All Futures Homescape homes are fitted with smoke alarms. It is your responsibility to check it is working properly.

People with a mobility or sensory disability

You should check your smoke alarm at least once a month. For details on how to do this see our How to Check Your Smoke Alarm fact sheet. Remember, if your smoke alarm keeps going off, DO NOT disconnect it - it is doing an important job. Report any faults to us so we can repair them.

How can I carry out a fire risk assessment? You can reduce the risk of a fire by carrying out a simple risk assessment. Alternatively you can contact your local fire service to ask for a free risk assessment.

People who are sleeping in rooms that pose a particular risk, e.g. a loft conversion or visitors sleeping in a living room where there is a gas/electric or open fire Fire risks or situations which may result in a fire. Common fire risks include: TVs and other non-essential electrical appliances left on standby overnight and when not in use - turn them off at the wall Mobile phone charges left on overnight or for prolonged periods, or buried under piles of clothes or paper, where they could overheat


Repairs and maintenance

Careless smoking habits, for example in bed, or leaving cigarettes burning in ash trays when no one is in the room Careless use of scented candles. Always follow the instructions and never leave a candle unattended

These regulations do not require the following items to carry a label: mattresses and bed bases, pillow, scatter cushions, seat pads, loose covers and stretch covers for furniture ■

Allow our staff into your home to undertake necessary maintenance work, including our once-a-year gas safety and smoke alarm(s) check

Do not leave candles e.g. scented candles unattended in a room.

Covering light shades or placing lamps too close to curtains, especially halogen lamps Cooking with oil, e.g. chip pans. Always check you have turned cookers off when you have finished cooking Not checking electrical appliances regularly. Carry out a visual check to see if there are signs of burning around switches, cables, etc. If your main fuse on the fuse board keeps tripping when you turn the appliance on, it may mean there is a fault with the item. Do not use it have it checked by an electrician.

Keep your doors closed at night to help delay the spread of fire and smoke. How do I make a fire action plan? You should plan for the best escape route and an alternative in case your first option is blocked. Your best escape route is your normal way in and out of your home.

How can I reduce fire risks in my home?

ALWAYS keep your escape routes clutter free so you can find your way if it is dark and smoky.

Once you have listed the fire risks in your home, start to remove or reduce them.

Tell everyone in your home where the door and window keys are kept.

For example: ■

Try to use one plug per socket and remove overloaded extension cables. Check how many amps your extension cable can take against how much power each appliance will use. For example, a television may use a 3amp plug and a vacuum cleaner a 5amp plug. You can find more information including a calculator to help you check for overloading on the Electrical Safety Council website www.esc.org.uk/ overloadingsockets

What else can I do to protect myself and my family? In most cases your first response to a fire should be to evacuate everyone from the building. You should only attempt to extinguish a fire if you feel confident and if it is small and localised. You can do this by: ■

Smothering it with a fire blanket or a wet towel. If dealing with a liquid fire e.g. an oil pan fire, leave the fire blanket or wet towel over it and evacuate the property, dialling 999 so you can be sure it is out Using a fire extinguisher.

Check electrical appliances regularly for signs of burning

Smoke outside your home if possible

Check that combustible materials have fire resistant labels. New furniture must comply with Furniture and Furnishings (Fire Safety) regulations 1988, amended 1989 and 1993.

You can install a fire extinguisher or a fire blanket in your home. Make sure they have the British Standards Kitemark and CE mark.


Repairs and maintenance

Extinguishers are used for different types of fires: ■

Water for wood, paper, textiles and solid material fires. Do not use on liquid, electrical or metal fires

Powder for liquid fires (e.g. cooking oils and electrical fires). Do not use on metal fires

Foam for liquid fires. Do not use on electrical or metal fires

Carbon Dioxide (CO2) for liquid and electrical fires. Do not use on metal fires.

Always read the instructions. What should I do in the event of a fire? If your smoke alarm goes off while you are asleep: ■

DON’T investigate to see if there is a fire

Shout to wake everyone up

Get everyone together

Follow your plan to escape

Get out, stay out, and phone 999.

Shout help from a window.

If you can attract a neighbour’s attention they may be able to provide a ladder for you to climb down. What should I do if I live in a block of flats or a sheltered scheme? Help to keep escape routes clear. Futures Homescape is required by law to keep communal areas clear at all times to ensure people can escape in the event of a fire. You must not place furniture or other household items in communal areas. They present a risk of combustion, block escape routes, may cause a trip hazard, and may hinder emergency services in their rescue duties. Motorbike and moped batteries, fuel and oil create a major fire hazard and they also cause an obstruction. It is a condition of your tenancy that they are not kept inside your home or parked in indoor communal areas. Charging mobility scooters indoors also creates a fire hazard and as a result is not permitted.

If your escape route means opening internal doors, FIRST place the back of your hand against the door. If it is warm, the fire is on the other side, so open with caution. Shut it again if it is too dangerous - either find another route, or stay put and raise the alarm.

In the event of a fire, in addition to the points already mentioned: ■

If you are physically able, try to escape by going down the stairs

Follow the fire escape signs

What if I can’t escape?

Do not try to rescue possessions.

If your escape route is blocked or you can’t escape for another reason, it may be safer to stay put and protect yourself until the fire brigade arrives.

If you are able to get out, move away from the building to a safe place. If possible, move up wind of any smoke. When you are safe, call 999. The more calls the better, as this will confirm a fire to the crews attending.

If possible: ■

Choose a room with a window that opens

If your route out is blocked:

Shut the door to stop the smoke

Stay calm

Place damp towels or blankets around the door at floor level

Go back inside your flat and shut the door

Move into a room furthest from the front door

Use a phone to dial 999


Repairs and maintenance

Stand near a window and try to attract attention from people below

If you have access to a phone call the fire brigade on 999

Criminal activity including cultivation of illegal drugs such as cannabis which can overload electrical systems, causing electrical faults

Alterations which may result in faulty electrics

Wait to be rescued.

Evidence of vandalism or arson, e.g. burn marks in communal areas

Blocking communal corridors by rubbish, bikes, plants and furniture

Hoarding old boxes, newspapers and magazines or old furniture, either in the home, garden or outbuilding

Wheelie bins should not be stored near doorways.

Fire risks outside your home Remember that fires outside your home can be a risk to you if they are close enough, particularly if you live in a block of flats. If you suspect or experience any of the following, you should report them to Futures Homescape as they could also pose a threat to your home and safety: ■

Storing flammable liquids such as petrol, engine oil or propane gas cylinders. Tenancy agreements prohibit the storage of petrol or other motor fuels in houses and the storage and/or use of petrol, paraffin or bottled gas in flats

Always take the relevant precautions for outdoor fires such as bonfires and barbecues. Follow the instructions for firelighters and lighter fuels.

Contact us Visit and log on to LINX: www.futureshomescape.co.uk Email: enquiries@futureshomescape.co.uk / Call: 01773 573100 / Text: 07537 410370 13-041 Registered Office: Asher House, Asher Lane Business Park, Ripley, Derbyshire DE5 3SW Company number: 04380728, Registered in England and Wales, Registered charity number: 1105751, Registered with the Regulator of Social Housing: L4372


Fire Safety Factsheet