Fire safety

How to reduce the risk of fire and what to do if there is a fire

What to do if there's a fire

Call 999

  • Call the emergency services as soon as it is safe to do so. Do not try to tackle the fire yourself, as it could put yourself and others in danger. The sooner you call 999, the sooner the fire brigade will be sent to deal with the fire.

Fire inside your home

  • If the fire is inside your home, get out and stay out. Do not waste time rescuing valuables. Try to stay calm, and if you can, close the doors to rooms to prevent smoke and fire spreading. If you live in a block, close your front door to prevent smoke and fire spreading into the corridor or stairwell. Alert your neighbours and do not return to your home until the fire brigade tells you it is safe to do so.

Fire in your building

  • If the fire is inside the building the fire alarm will sound. You should get out and stay out.


  • If there is a lot of smoke, stay low. Crawl along the floor where there is less smoke and the air will be cleaner.

Do not use lifts, use the stairs

  • If you live in a block, make your way out using the emergency exit staircase. During fires, lifts are dangerous because you may become trapped inside.

Make preparations in case of a fire 

Smoke alarms

Working smoke alarms could save your life by providing an early warning and extra time to escape if there is a fire. You should regularly check that smoke alarms in your home are working and change the batteries when necessary. Vacuuming your smoke alarms will remove dust and dirt that can stop them from working. If you don’t have smoke alarms installed, or if you can’t get them to work, please contact us. Please offer to help your neighbours if you suspect they may not be able to test their own smoke alarms.

Keep fire doors closed 

Some doors in and around your home will be fire resistant. They are made of material that is heat resistant and make your home safer by slowing the spread of fire. Please ensure fire doors are kept closed at all times.

Some doors are fitted with self-closers to ensure they remain shut. Do not wedge fire doors open or remove the self-closing device as this could allow a fire to spread.

If you’re a tenant, you must not replace or alter your front door without our permission as this could reduce the fire protection to your home.

If you’re a leaseholder or shared owner, you are responsible for the doors to your home and you must comply with fire regulations. We will ask you to replace your door if it does not comply. If you have any doubts about whether your door is fire resistant, please contact us.

Make a fire escape plan 

Make sure you know the quickest and safest way to leave your home if it catches fire. Get everyone together who lives in your household and:

  • Plan what you would do if there was a fire in your home.
  • Agree your escape route out of the building.
  • Make sure you all know where the keys to the front door and windows are kept.
  • Learn how to navigate the stairs in darkness so you could do the same in thick smoke.
  • Keep your escape route clear of obstacles.

More advice and free escape template

Reduce the risk of fire in your home

The most common causes of fire are listed below. Find out what you can do to keep you and your family safe.

  • Kitchen fires

    Most fires start in the kitchen. Here are some steps you can take to make sure your kitchen is fire safe.

    • A major cause of fire is the build-up of fat and oil in pans, as it can easily ignite when heated. Clean your pans regularly. Never pour hot oil down your sink. 
    • Never use water on an oil pan fire. Water reacts with the oil and will cause a fireball.
    • If a pan catches fire do not attempt to move it. Turn off the heat only if it is safe to do so.
    • Do not leave cooking unattended. Take pans off the heat or turn the heat down if you’re called away from the cooker.
    • Don’t start cooking if you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol.
    • Keep things that can catch fire away from the cooking area.
  • Electrical fires
    • Make sure electrical appliances have a British or European safety mark when you buy them.
    • Try and keep to one plug per socket, especially for high-powered appliances like washing machines and freezers.
    • Don’t overload freezers or fridge freezers, especially older models.
    • Electrical leads should not be run under carpets as any damage will go unseen.
    • Unplugging appliances when you are not using them or when you go to bed at night will help to reduce the risk of fire.
    • Don’t leave mobile phones charging overnight, especially on your bed or under your pillow. Batteries can overheat and catch fire.
    • Maintain tumble dryers by regularly removing the build-up of fluff.
    • If you use a portable heater, use an oil filled one instead of a halogen, bar or convector heater.
    • Always keep heaters well away from clothes, curtains and furniture.
  • Smoking

    Smoking causes more deaths by fire than anything else. Make sure you put cigarettes out fully and dispose of them correctly – don’t throw them on the floor or out of the window. Discarded cigarette have caused many fires.

    • Never smoke in bed.
    • Take extra care when smoking if you have been drinking alcohol or taking medication.
    • Use a proper heavy ashtray that won’t tip over easily.
    • Do not empty the ashtray into a bin as this can catch fire. A drop of water in the ashtray will help make it safer.
    • Keep matches, lighters and smoking materials out of children’s sight and reach.
  • BBQs, candles and incense burners

    Naked flames always present a real fire hazard!

    • Don’t light BBQs in shared areas and always make sure you have plenty of water handy in case you need to put them out quickly.
    • Take special care with candles and incense burners. Always use holders and keep them well away from curtains and fabrics.​​
  • Dumped rubbish

    Thousands of fires were caused by rubbish every year. They start easily, and a large number of them are deliberate. Dumped furniture, car tyres, scraps of wood, old mattresses and cardboard boxes look bad but are also potential fire hazards and a target for arsonists.

    • Keep rubbish away from buildings, doors and windows.
    • Keep exits and escape routes clear of rubbish.

    Please contact us in confidence if you see anything that might be a fire hazard.

  • Stored items in shared areas and balconies
    • Items left in shared areas or corridors can act as fuel for a fire and can prevent people escaping. Please don’t leave anything, like bikes and buggies, in corridors or communal areas.
    • Similarly, if you have a balcony, don’t use it as a place to store things – especially anything that can catch alight. This is a fire hazard as it can cause fire to spread easily.

    We may remove items where there is a safety risk. If you see anything obstructing a shared area, please contact us report it in confidence.

  • Mobility scooters

    Mobility scooters present a fire risk because they are combustible. When on fire, scooters release large amounts of highly toxic smoke and gases so they should be stored in a safe place. If you need further advice on where to store a mobility scooter, please contact us.

    Likewise, charging an e-bike or e-scooter can be a fire risk. Find out how to avoid the risk here. 

Report a fire hazard

If you see anything that you think is a fire hazard or might cause an obstruction in the event of a fire, please report it to the Hastoe Hub.

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