Every year fire kills more than 800 people in the UK, and injures 17,000. But you can take a few simple steps to keep yourself and your home safe
Stop fires from starting
- Take care with candles
- Take care when cooking. Never leave children alone in the kitchen when the hob or oven is on
- Put cigarettes out properly. Never leave a cigarette burning and never smoke in bed
- Don’t overload plug sockets and get damaged plugs, sockets and wiring fixed
- Keep communal areas clear
Get out safely
- Get a smoke alarm, fix it somewhere central like a landing or hallway and test it every week
- Find out how your local fire service will provide a free home safety check – which may include fitting a free smoke alarm (see below)
- Make an escape plan so that everyone in your home knows what to do in case of fire
- Keep escape routes clear so if you need to get out quickly there is nothing in the way
- Shut all doors at night. This slows the spread of smoke and fire
What if I can’t get out?
Choose a safe room and wait to be rescued. Make sure people know you are there and secure the room by closing the door and putting bedding or towels along the bottom of the door. If you can, choose a room with a window and a phone.
What to do in an emergency
Don’t delay – dial 999.
Disposing of items in communal areas
Your safety is a top priority for Catalyst and by law we have to keep you safe from fire. That’s why we have a zero tolerance policy towards personal possessions or rubbish left in the communal areas of our properties.
Items such as prams, bikes, shopping trolleys or bags of rubbish are a real fire hazard.
- If there is a fire they cannot be seen in thick smoke and people could easily trip or fall over them
- If they’re blocking fire escapes, it will take longer for residents to exit the building and this could lead to people being injured or even killed
We regularly visit neighbourhoods to identify health and safety hazards. If something is left in a communal area, we will:
- remove and immediately dispose of items that are a hazard, a high fire risk or are obstructing fire escapes
- put a notice on all other items and write to residents living in the block telling them we will remove the items by a certain date. If no-one claims them, we’ll either:
- dispose of it if it appears to have no or little monetary value, or
- store it and give the owners time to collect it if it appears valuable. We may also charge for storage, especially if the item is large or bulky. If no-one claims it and we’ve stored it for a reasonable time, we’ll dispose of it anyway
Let our fire inspectors in
By law, we have to carry out regular fire safety checks in the shared parts of our buildings. When you have seen their identification, please let our fire inspectors in.
Free home safety check and smoke alarms
Your local fire service provides free home safety checks and in many areas, this includes fitting a free smoke alarm. Fire officers will also advise you about making your home safer. Get a free fire safety visit from your local fire service:
- London Fire Brigade: 08000 28 44 28
- Royal Berkshire Fire & Rescue Service: 0800 587 6679
- Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service: 01296 744477
- Oxfordshire Fire & Rescue Service: 01865 842999
Further information and help
Go to the Directgov website for more tips to help prevent fire in your home.
Fire safety guide
Download our leaflet on fire safety or contact us and we will send it to you.
Fire safety leaflet (448kb)
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