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Fire safety advice

Most fires in the home can be prevented by taking some precautions. Having a smoke alarm, being aware of risks in the kitchen and handling candles, cigarettes and electrical appliances with care can also help avoid fires. In addition, it is important to have an evacuation plan and knowing where to go in case of a fire.

Council fire safety policy and independent advice

Our fire safety policy and advice from the London Fire Brigade aim to minimise the risk of fire in residential properties managed by the Council.

How to reduce the chance of a fire at home

  • check your smoke alarm works once every week
  • hair straighteners can get extremely hot. Always switch them off and leave them to cool on a heatproof surface
  • unplug electrical items when not in use
  • always get your electric appliances from a good supplier and that they have a UK and EU safety mark
  • don’t overload electrical sockets

Find out if your sockets are overloaded with our interactive tool

The Socket Calculator has been brought to you by Electrical Safety First.

Other measures that can help prevent fires

  • close internal doors at night and when leaving the property to stop the possible spread of flames and smoke in the event of a fire
  • make sure smoking material and candles are never left in a room unattended
  • make sure naked flames and burning items are completely extinguished before throwing them away or storing them
  • make sure anyone with sight, hearing, mobility difficulties, or if they use oxygen is registered with your local fire and rescue service. This will mean a fire crew is made aware of your circumstances in the event of an emergency
  • do not store flammable or explosive substances in your home. Common fuels such as petrol, gas bottles and paints are highly flammable and will increase the speed in which a fire spreads through your home

Fire doors

The fire doors in your home and in your block are to prevent fire and smoke spreading into other rooms in your home and to other homes.

You must make sure that:

  • fire doors are kept closed at all times
  • you never block a fire door or force it to stay open
  • fire doors that do not close properly or are damaged in any way are reported immediately to our Repairs Contact Centre.

You must never change your doors without permission, this allows us to make sure any new door will give you the right level of protection and security.

Security grilles and gates

A metal gate across your windows and doors could delay your escape from your home or delay emergency services getting into your home. In partnership with London Fire Brigade, we are advising all residents to remove the security grilles on their windows and doors.

If you are worried about the security of your home, contact your Estate Officer to identify alternative security measures for your home.

Get a smoke alarm

Smoke alarms detect fires early, giving you extra time to escape. A working smoke alarm could save your life, so make you have one installed and check it weekly to sure it works.

If you do not have a smoke alarm, you can buy battery operated smoke alarms from supermarkets and DIY stores. The London Fire Brigade carry out free home safety fire visits and will fit smoke alarms for free of you need them.

If you have difficulty hearing, you can buy a smoke alarm that has a vibrating pad or a flashing light. To find out more, visit Action on Hearing Loss. The London Fire Brigade can also fit specialist smoke alarms in your home as part of a home safety fire visit.

The best place for a smoke alarm is on the ceiling in a hallway. Do not put a smoke alarm in a kitchen or in a bathroom. If your home has more than one floor, put a smoke alarm on each landing.

Test all the smoke alarms in your home once a week.

Mains powered alarms programme

We have been installing mains powered smoke alarms in all our rented properties over recent years as one of our fire safety improvement measures. This includes providing additional features for our vulnerable residents.

For example, easy access smoke alarms that can be tested from the wall rather than the ceiling and smoke alarms with strobe lights and vibrating pads for residents with hearing difficulties.

Where alarms are installed, we ask residents to test them regularly and report any problems. If your alarm starts to bleep, you have any concerns about it or if you would like more information on how to have an alarm installed, please call our service provider on 020 7241 7657.

Know your fire plan

If the fire is not in your flat

Knowing what to do in the event of a fire is just as important as knowing how to prevent them. Whether you live in a purpose-built block of flats or maisonette, London Fire Brigade and Hackney Housing want you to know your fire plan. If the fire is not in your flat, often the best option is to stay indoors and call the Fire Brigade, as is advised in this video:

If the fire is in your flat

If a fire starts in your flat, you need to get everyone safely out. The London Fire Brigade video below gives you advice on planning your best escape route.

Some homes offer multiple escape routes. Where the front door is usually the main or preferred route of escape, your secondary escape route may be the balcony at the back of your home.

These areas may not be used often for the purpose they are designed but in the event of a fire affecting your home this may be your safest way to evacuate. Therefore they should be treated in the same way as the usual escape routes in and out of your home.

Keep escape routes clear

Make sure all exits inside and outside your home, including corridors, landings and stairwells are clear of obstructions, for example, bicycles, push chairs, bulky waste.

This is very important as your escape and that of your neighbours could get blocked. Also, items like these, can easily get in the way of firefighters who are trying to rescue trapped people or fight the fire.

If any of the escape routes inside or outside your home are being blocked or obstructed, please clear it. If the obstruction is not within your control please contact your local neighbourhood housing office immediately. The Council provides a free bulky items collection service.

Important points to consider:

  • plan and learn all the possible escape routes, so you can get to the street
  • make sure everyone at home knows where the door and window keys are kept
  • make sure everyone in your household knows how to escape
  • never block your escape with items, inside or outside your home

Where to go – fire assembly points

If you have a communal alarm system within your block, when you hear the alarm sound you must evacuate immediately and go to your street level assembly point as detailed below:

Location: 63-162 Fellows Court

Assembly Point: The main square at the front of the block local to the shops

Location: 339-428 Fellows Court

Assembly Point: The pedestrian area on the corner of Hackney Road and Weymouth Terrace

Location: St Martins Court

Assembly Point: The car park outside Fermain Court on the corner of Hartford Road and Downham Road

Location: Sara Lane Court

Assembly Point: Outside Ben Johnson Court

Location: Scotney House

Assembly Point: In front of 1-39 Milborne House on Mead Place

Location: Barbrook and Mead House

Assembly Point: Outside Rowe house on the corner of Retreat Place and Rivaz Place

Location: Exbury House

Assembly Point: Outside 48-106 Loddiges Road and outside the shops on Frampton Park road

Location: Hugh Gaitskell House

Assembly Point: In the car park at the rear of the block

Fire safety equipment in your block

The fire safety equipment installed in your block is designed to protect you from fire, to give you early warning of a fire and help your escape in an emergency:

  • we have installed communal lighting with battery back-up in case of a power failure. This will make sure your escape routes are well lit if you need to evacuate.
  • all ventilation within your communal corridors and lobby areas are an important part of the buildings fire protection design to prevent smoke from getting into your escape route and brings in clean air.
  • we have installed communal fire detection and alarm systems in some blocks.

Home fire safety visit

The London Fire Brigade carry out free home safety visits for people and places where there is a higher risk of fire, for example, older people, especially those living alone, those with mobility, vision and hearing impairment.

They will visit you at home to offer advice on how to make your home safe and fit smoke alarms for free if you need them. Complete a home fire safety visit request form or contact the London Fire Brigade on 0800 0284428.

If you have children, older or disabled people or pets in your home, plan how you will get them out if there is a fire. If you think it would be difficult to get out of your home if there is a fire because of a disability or illness, contact your Estate Officer to discuss the help available to you.

Fire risk assessment

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 requires us to carry out a fire risk assessment in the communal areas of our blocks and to put in place appropriate fire safety measures to manage the risks identified.

We ensure that all of our fire risk assessments are carried out by fully qualified and competent fire risk assessors in line with the Competency Council guidance. This results in suitable and sufficient assessments of the fire risks to which a person could be exposed and the identification of general fire precautions to ensure compliance and good practice.

Our commitment to high standards of fire safety for our residents means that whilst we work to comply with relevant legislation, we also take steps to introduce good practice over and above the legal duty, as this is only the minimum requirement.

Regular fire, safety and general checks of communal areas are completed by designated teams with additional information provided from our staff such as Cleaners and Grounds Maintenance Teams. The information is recorded and informs planned works programmes and future fire risk assessments.

We have completed fire risk assessments for all of our blocks with the period for review depending upon the level of risk identified within the assessment. We also work closely with the London Fire Brigade and their Borough Commander to ensure compliance is being met across all of our stock.

If you see any damage to fire safety equipment, report it to our Repairs Contact Centre. We will take action against anyone found damaging or mistreating fire safety equipment.

Page updated on: 28 June 2019