Reducing the risk of a fire in your home and building
16 December 2021
As we approach the end of the year, we wanted to highlight the importance of fire safe measures and some of the work our Fire Safety team are leading on to keep your home safe from fires. The areas we cover range from managing and maintaining compliance, overseeing our fire risk assessment programme to maintaining relationships with fire service organisations and ensuring our new developments include fire safety measures.
Keeping check on the fire safety equipment in your building
All the buildings we own and manage have fire safety equipment installed which we need to manage and maintain so they work effectively when we need them to. We work with contractors who specialise in fire safety to regularly check our equipment. For example, we manage contractors to test:
- over 150 automatic opening vents each month, which help extract smoke from the escape routes in buildings
- the emergency lights in your building
- dry risers (used to provide water to a fire hose connection) to ensure they work if the fire and rescue services need to use them
- the fire alarms in your building, every three months.
Ensuring our buildings have a valid fire risk assessment (FRA)
We manage our FRA programme and the implementation of the recommendations from them. This includes ensuring we follow our policies and procedures when managing the delivery of the recommended actions. We work with Savills, one of the leading specialists in the industry, to complete fire risk assessments for all our buildings with an internal communal area.
As part of our FRA programme, we also manage an extensive fire door replacement and fire stopping programme, and emergency lighting and detection upgrade programmes.
Maintaining relationships with fire services and other external organisations
We support the fire and rescue services, including the London Fire Brigade, with their inspections of our blocks of flats where they check all fire safety measures. This includes ensuring the escape routes are clear, fire doors are working and fire detection system, where required, are installed and working correctly.
Learning and sharing good practices for fire safety management
We work hard to ensure we continue to lead the way in fire safety management by staying up to date about the changes in fire and building regulations, new practices in the industry and working with specialist organisations. We're proud of the achievements of our Fire Safety team including the recent award win by Laura Jones, Fire Safety Manager, for Fire Safety Manager of the Year at the Women in Fire Safety Awards.
We also share our good practices around fire safety management with other housing providers so, as a social housing sector, we innovate and improve.
Applying fire safety measures to new developments
Our Fire Safety Team work closely with our Development team on the design specifications to ensure fire safety measures are included at the start of the development programme. We do this so all our new buildings are compliant with current fire and building regulations.
How you can help
When the fire and rescue service check our buildings, one of the areas they’re particularly interested in is the fire escape routes. These must be clear all the time which is why we have a zero-tolerance policy to items left in communal areas. You can work with us by ensuring you do not leave any of your belongings in communal areas, risers or cupboards. This is to reduce the risk of items catching fire and spreading throughout your building as well as items creating a trip hazard in escape routes if a fire starts.
Fire safety tips for the Christmas period
There are a few fire safety tips you should consider at this time of the year which include:
- Candles – never leave candles unattended and you should not place them near the Christmas tree or furnishings.
- Christmas lights – ensure your festive lights meet the British Standard. Switch them off and unplug them before you go to bed.
- Decorations – consider where you place decorations as they can burn easily. Do not place decorations on lights or heaters.
- Plugs and sockets – do not overload plugs and sockets or use more than one extension cable on a wall socket.
- Smoke alarms – continue to test your smoke alarm every week to ensure it’s working properly.