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Safety first for fire

Your safety is and always will be our top priority. That’s why we are making sure our teams responsible for fire safety comply with every regulation and procedure. These are some of the actions Great Places has taken to ensure that we as a business and our customers think safety first when it comes to fire:

  • We carried out new Fire Risk Assessments on all of our buildings; a fire risk assessment aims to identify fire hazards and people at risk, it also helps to determine what fire safety measures and management policies are necessary to ensure the safety of people in the building should fire occur.
  • We carried out joint site visits with local Fire Rescue Services.
  • We reviewed our fire evacuation policies and procedures to ensure they were completely up to date. We review them on any building where we have any concerns arising from inspection or changes in guidance.
  • We increased our site visits by the Great Places Fire Safety Officers in complex buildings and those with higher risk due to occupancy or construction we carry out more detailed inspections, and updated the fire safety advice notices in all communal entrance areas.
  • We updated our fire safety information on our website.
  • We worked closely with the Great Places Customer Insight Scrutiny Group who endorsed our approach which ensures  customer communication is delivered as intended, and any instruction to Great Places colleagues is acted upon consistently across all Great Places’ regional housing teams.
  • We will continue to work with local authorities and fire safety authorities and respond to official recommendation and guidance.

Please be assured that your safety remains our top priority and we will continue to follow our stringent fire safety procedures at the buildings we own and manage. If you have any questions please call our Customer Access Team on 0300 123 1966 and ask to speak to the Compliance Fire Safety Team. Or email the Firesafetyandliftteam@greatplaces.org.uk

In the event of a fire what should you do?

If you live in a block that operates a policy of (stay put) and you discover a fire in a flat or common area, you should:

  • Alert all occupants of the flat
  • Do not use the lift
  • Leave the building by the nearest exit
  • Call 999 and ask for the Fire Brigade.

Other occupants not directly affected by the fire should:

  • Stay put in their flat unless directed to leave by the Fire Brigade
  • Do not return to the building until instructed to do so by the Fire Brigade.

If your home is a single dwelling or a flat in a block that operates an immediate evacuation policy you should take the following action:

  • Sound the alarm
  • Call 999 and ask for the Fire Brigade
  • Leave the building by the nearest exit.

On hearing the alarm:

  • Leave the building by the nearest exit
  • Do not return to the building until instructed to do so by the Fire Brigade.

Your Neighbourhood Coordinator, Neighbourhood Officer or Fire Safety Officer will be able to tell you which evacuation procedure should be used at your home. Alternatively, if you live in a flat, refer to the red fire action notices which are displayed in all communal areas.

General advice

You should have an escape route planned that everyone at your address is familiar with. As you escape, remember:

  • Don’t delay to save valuables or look for pets
  • Don’t investigate the fire
  • Crawl on the floor if there’s smoke – the air is cleaner near the floor, so put your nose as low as possible
  • As you go out, only open the doors you need to and close any open doors you can to slow the spread of the fire
  • Before you open doors, feel them with the back of your hand – if they’re warm, don’t open them as this means the fire is on the other side
  • If you’re escaping with others, stay together if you can
  • In schemes where there is a stay put policy, place wet towels at the bottom of the doors
  • Great Places are responsible for smoke alarms, please don’t tamper with them.

Keep your escape route free from hazards and obstructions

Ensure the route to your means of escape is kept free from obstructions, such as items of furniture, bicycles and refuse, or any other item that could have the potential to be a slip or trip hazard. If your home is located in a block or scheme, this guidance should be applied to communal areas and corridors. It is vital that nothing blocks an escape route for any resident, or provides fuel for a fire.

Fire doors

Fire doors should be kept closed and never propped or wedged open. Other internal doors should be closed when sleeping, as a closed door not only helps to contain a fire to a single room but also prevents the smoke (which contains hot, harmful, toxic gases) from spreading through the rest of the home. This will give you more of a chance of getting out safely. The door closer on a flat entrance door is there to keep the door closed and any fire at bay, do not remove under any circumstance and report any repairs immediately.

Call the Fire Brigade on 999

Once you’re out and safe, call the emergency services free on 999. When you speak to the operator:

  • Give your whole address, including the town
  • Tell them what is on fire, for example ‘a two-storey house’
  • Explain if anyone is trapped and what room they’re in – the more information you can give, the more quickly and effectively they can help you

Don’t go back in

You should find somewhere safe to wait near the building. If there’s someone still inside, wait for the Fire Brigade to arrive and tell them – they’re much more likely to be able to find them quicker than you. If you go back into the building, you will slow down the fire fighters’ efforts to rescue anyone else missing, as well as putting your own life in great danger.

Dealing with a fire in your kitchen

  • Don’t move the item on fire because it will be very hot
  • Turn off the heat if it’s safe to do so but don’t lean over the pan to reach the controls
  • Don’t use a fire extinguisher on a pan of oil because the force of the extinguisher can spread the fire
  • Never use water on chip pan fires as this will cause a fireball
  • Get out and call 999 as soon as possible.

If an electrical appliance catches fire, don’t throw water on it. If it is safe to do so, you may be able to put out the fire immediately by:

  • Pulling the appliance’s plug out
  • Switching off the power at the fuse box.

If the fire doesn’t go out, get out of the house and call 999

Safety tips if you smoke

 Follow these safety tips to avoid causing a fire:

  • Never smoke in bed – it’s very easy to fall asleep and allow your cigarette to set light to your bedclothes or furnishings
  • Don’t smoke if you’re drowsy, especially if you’re sitting in a comfortable chair or if you’ve been drinking or taking prescription drugs – again, it’s easy to fall asleep
  • Don’t leave a lit cigarette (or cigar or pipe) as they can easily overbalance and land on the carpet or other flammable material – instead, use a heavy ashtray that can’t tip easily
  • Make totally sure that your butts (and any remains in your pipe bowl) aren’t still smouldering when you’ve finished with them – wet them and empty your ashtray into a metal bin outside the house
  • Keep lighters, matches and smoking materials out of the reach of children – you can also buy child-resistant lighters and containers for matches.

Visit from the fire service

If you would like Home Fire Safety Assessment please get in touch with your local Fire and Rescue Service, who will be happy to give you free advice and may fit smoke alarms if necessary.

If you have concerns

If you become concerned about the serviceability of any of the fire safety equipment located at your premises or feel that the risk of fire has increased for any reason, please contact your Neighbourhood Coordinator immediately on 0300 123 1966.