Household fire safety advice is generally fairly standard across the board, however if you are living in a block of flats or maisonette your precautions and action plan need to be more bespoke.
Top 4 causes of fires in homes:
What to do if a fire has been detected
Scenario 1: There is a fire or smoke inside your flat or maisonette and your escape route is clear
- Get everyone out, close the door and walk as calmly as possible out of the building
- Do not use the lifts
- Call 999
Scenario 2: There is fire or smoke inside your flat or maisonette but your escape route is blocked
- It may be safer to stay inside until the fire brigade arrives
- Close the door and block the gaps around the edge with soft material such as towels or sheets
- Stay by a window and call 999
Scenario 3: There is a fire in another part of the building
- In a purpose built block of flats or maisonette the doors, walls and floors are designed to block flames and smoke for a minimum of 30-60 minutes so you should be safe staying in your home until help comes
- Let the fire brigade know the best way to reach you
- If you are within the communal areas of the building, leave and call 999 immediately
Take the following points into consideration as part of your plan:
- Fit smoke alarms on every level of your home, making sure there is one in every room where a fire could start
- Ensure that you know the fire escape plan for your building. If you are unsure, speak to your landlord or housing officer
- Make sure that everyone you live with knows how to raise the alarm.
- Escape routes should be kept clear of items such as prams, bikes and mobility scooters
- Rubbish should be taken to the refuse areas immediately and not left in communal areas as they are flammable and can block escape routes
- If you have been provided with an alternative escape route make sure that this is also kept clear
According to the London Fire Brigade, people living in rented or shared accommodation are seven times more likely to have a fire.
So, what are your responsibilities and what are your Landlords?
By law landlords should:
- Install one smoke alarm on each storey of the property
- Ensure that a CO alarm is fitted in any room that contains a solid fuel burning appliance
- Test all alarms at the beginning of the tenancy
As well as the above legal requirements they should also:
- Ensure all gas and electric appliances supplied are safe and working
- Show you the safety certificates so you know when gas and electrical appliances were last checked
- Get gas appliances checked by a Gas Safe registered gas fitter every 12 months
- Make sure that any furniture provided by them is fire resistant and meets safety regulations
Specifically for tenants living in a block of flats or maisonette, landlords should also:
- Give you a fire safety action plan and advice on the fire risk assessment for your building -this should include fire procedures and evacuation information
- Provide you with fire-resisting and self-closing front doors, alarms inside your home (smoke and CO) and emergency lighting in the common parts if required
- Ensure that escape routes are clearly marked so that anyone in the building will know what where to go if there is a fire
- Control parking around your building as best as possible to allow easy access for fire engines
- Put signs with clear instructions in and around lifts to explain what to do if there is a fire.
- Ensure that rubbish stores are locked
- Keep shared stairs, corridors and landings free of any clutter
- Inform you of any changes to the fire plan after any building works
- You are personally responsible for ensuring that your fire alarms work throughout the term of your tenancy.
- Ensure that fire doors are maintained and shut before you go to bed.
Lansdown Insurance Brokers are specialists in Block of flats insurance, Vineyard insurance and Business insurance. We are able to provide flexible policies to suit individual client needs and provide advice on what cover is needed. For more information call the team on 01242 524498.