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Fire safety top tips

Fire safety in flats

The government has produced a helpful booklet on fire safety for those living in a flat. You can read it here: Fire safety in flats

Support from your local fire crew

The London Fire Brigade offers the Home Fire Safety Checker - a free online tool which guides you through an assessment of your home, helping you to uncover fire risks and giving you tailored advice. 

Home Fire Safety Checker

If you live in London, for more vulnerable residents or those at higher risk, you can book a Home Fire Safety Visit from your local fire crew.

Home Fire Safety Visit

If you live in Hertfordshire, you can request a 'Safe and Well' Home Visit.

Safe and Well Home Visit

Fire safety top tips

You can reduce the risk of fire in your home by taking the following simple steps:

  1. Test your smoke alarm every week.
  2. Make a fire evacuation plan so that everyone in your home knows how to escape.
  3. Be careful with candles. Place them in or on a fire resistant dish/holder on a sturdy base, and keep them away from anything that could catch alight e.g. curtains, carpets, furniture, bedding and other flammable items.
  4. Keep matches and lighters out of the reach of children.
  5. Don’t leave cigarettes, pipes or candles unattended.
  6. Switch off the TV and other non-essential electrical equipment at the socket when not in use.
  7. Switch off heaters and cookers when you’re not using them.
  8. Do not charge leave electrical goods on charge at night, when you are asleep or if you are out.
  9. Don’t use or store devices that run on a gas cylinder.
  10. Check your cooker is turned off before you go to bed.
  11. Keep communal areas, fire exits and fire escapes clear of any obstructions at all times.
  12. Don’t prop fire doors open.
  13. Make sure that your electrical items are CE marked – CE marking indicates that a product has been assessed by the manufacturer and deemed to meet EU safety, health and environmental protection requirements.
  14. Make sure that cables from electrical appliances (including extension cables) don’t run underneath carpets or rugs
  15. Make sure you do not overload extension leads and keep them uncoiled to prevent overheating.
  16. Keep mains powered appliances away from water and don’t use them in bathrooms

Download our fire safety leaflet 

Watch this video for more information on keeping safe at home

Those residents living in flats are subject to additional safety measures and as part of our fire risk assessments and estate inspections, we inspect all the fire doors in our properties to ensure they are safe and compliant.

Residents can help us ensure their buildings are safe by telling us if they notice any faults with fire doors by using the 5 Step Check

You can report faults to us on 0300 373 3000 or emailing customerservice@networkhomes.org.uk.  

Go to our Contact Us form

Fire doors are a critical element in fire safety and a requirement in every commercial, public and multiple occupancy building, and in some domestic situations too. In everyday use, the simple purpose of a fire door is just as any other door. However, fire doors are so important in case of fire as they can delay the spread of fire and smoke; protecting your life and home.

Those residents living in flats are subject to additional safety measures and as part of our fire risk assessments and estate inspections, we inspect all the fire doors in our properties to ensure they are safe and compliant.

Network Homes has an extensive door replacement programme currently underway. We are prioritising those which have been identified as needing repair through the fire risk assessments. If your door has been identified as needing to be changed, we will contact you. 

All doors fitted by Network Homes are fully certified fire doors, with primary test evidence. Each door is fitted by a third-party accredited contractor to ensure it is installed properly. By taking this approach, we can be confident that the right door is being installed, and its being installed properly.

You should ensure your flat entry door: 

  • Must close and fit into the frame with gaps no larger than 5mm around the frame.
  • There must be an operating door closer to ensure the door can close on its own accord once released. 

More advice is available from the London Fire Brigade website

If you want more advice please contact the fire safety team – 0300 373 3000 

You should have at least one working alarm installed in your home.

A smoke alarm will alert you if there is a fire, improving your chances of escaping a fire unharmed.

If you don’t have a smoke alarm, please use the contact us form or phone us on 0300 373 3000.

Go to our Contact Us form

  • Alert everyone in your home.
  • Phone 999 and ask for the Fire Brigade. Tell them your address and where in the building the fire is.
  • If possible, close the door to any room where fire is burning.
  • Close your front door as you leave.
  • Use the stairs. Never use the lift.

If your flat or maisonette is being affected by fire or smoke and your escape route is clear:

  • Get everyone out, close the door and walk calmly out of the building. Do not use the lift.
  • Call 999, give your address, the number of your flat and state which floor the fire is on.

If there is a fire or smoke inside your flat or maisonette and your escape route is not clear:

  • It may be safer to stay in your flat or maisonette until the fire brigade arrives.
  • Find a safe room close the door and use soft materials to block any gaps to stop the smoke.
  • Go to a window, shout “HELP, FIRE” and call 999.
  • Be ready to describe where you are and the quickest way to reach you.

If there is a fire in another part of the building:

  • Purpose-built maisonettes or blocks of flats are built to give you some protection from fire. Walls, floors and doors can hold back flames and smoke for 30 to 60 minutes.
  • You are usually safer staying put and calling 999. Tell the fire brigade where you are and the best way to reach you.
  • If you are within the common parts of the building, leave and call 999.

If your home has a balcony, it's important you take preventative measures to reduce the risk of a fire breaking out or spreading via your balcony. Some of the measures you can put in place to prevent a fire on your balcony are:

  • Not using any cooking equipment on balconies.
  • Not having items like plastic plant pots on balconies where smoking takes place Ensuring there are no large quantities of combustible materials such as cardboard boxes and items.
  • Always ensuring you stub out cigarettes properly and dispose of them carefully.
  • Never leaving lit cigarettes or cigars unattended.
  • Always emptying ashtrays carefully, ensuring all smoking materials are stubbed out and cold (where smoking on balconies are permitted).

This is not an exhaustive list and there's always more safety measures you can put in place.

Please remember, if you live in a property owned or managed by Network Homes, you are not permitted to use a barbeque (BBQ) on your balcony. Using a BBQ on your balcony will be a breach of your tenancy or lease.

The London Fire Brigade has warned that they have seen a huge spike in fires as a result of electric bikes and e-scooters. We recognise that electric bikes and e-scooters are becoming common modes of transport, and we request that these are stored and charged within your homes. When charging, they should be placed on a hard surface, away from escape routes, in a room with a smoke alarm, and only charged when the user is awake and within the premises. If we see electric bikes or e-scooters in communal areas, they will be removed and disposed of immediately without prior notice. This is to keep all those living in the building safe.

Visit the London Fire Brigade website for safety tips for using and charging electric bikes and scooters:

London Fire Brigade's e-bike and e-scooter safety tips

Are you having a BBQ? Always take care when having a BBQ to have a fun safe experience. Here are some tips on how to ensure your BBQ is safe:

  • Never use a BBQ on your balcony, even those which are advertised to be used on balconies, as they create a fire safety risk.
  • Ensure the BBQ is on flat ground and is not near any sheds, trees or shrubs.
  • Always watch the BBQ and never leave children unattended when it is lit or hot.
  • It’s always best to keep a bucket of water or sand close by in case of emergencies.
  • And allow the BBQ to cool down fully before storing it away.

Please remember, if you live in a property owned or managed by Network Homes, you are not permitted to use a barbeque (BBQ) on your balcony. Using a BBQ on your balcony will be a breach of your tenancy or lease.

For more advice and ways to stay safe in your home, please go to the London Fire Brigade’s website

Prevent fires in your home
Fire doors
Fire door replacement
Smoke alarms
If there's a fire in your home
Fires in maisonettes/block of flats
Balcony safety
Electric bikes and e-scooters
Using BBQs
More advice

Find out about our fire safety programmes

More information

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