Fire safety in flats
Your responsibilities as a council resident
To keep your home safe, including those blocks of flats with a single communal staircase, you must keep the communal areas clear and not wedge open fire doors in the corridors.
We make regular checks for items left in communal areas. You must never leave bin bags, bicycles, children's buggies, plant pots, washing or other obstructions in communal corridors or walkways. These can block fire exits and put lives at risk. Any item found obstructing a communal area will be removed without notice. Some items will be stored for a short period before disposal. If you want to claim back the item you will have to pay our collection and storage costs.
Keep all exits from your home clear so people can get out easily if there is a fire. If you have a balcony, garden or patio you must not store anything there that would easily catch fire and cause a fire to spread. We operate a bulk refuse service which you can use to arrange for items to be collected. Fridges and freezers are collected free of charge.
Do not overload electrical sockets and take care when cooking in the kitchen. Stub out cigarettes fully and do not smoke in bed. If your home has a smoke alarm test it regularly.
If there is a fire in your home
Do not tackle the fire yourself. Close the door to the room where the fire is, if you can do this safely. Leave your home, shutting the front door behind you. Call 999 and do not go back into your home. If you live in a block of flats, leave the building. Do not use the lifts.
If there is thick smoke in the communal corridor
Call 999 and remain in your home. Close the windows and wait for the emergency services to rescue you.
If you need assistance to get rid of items in communal areas please speak to a community housing officer from our sheltered housing service.
All schemes are connected to the Sheltered Housing control room so they would be aware that a smoke alarm or communal fire panel had activated and they immediately call 999. Remain in your flat, close the windows and wait for the emergency services to rescue you. The fire brigade are always called on activation of a smoke alarm in Sheltered Housing.
We work closely with the London Fire Brigade to keep your fire protection arrangements in good working order. These include Dry Risers, which are the system of water pipes that allow the emergency services to deliver water to the upper floors of a block of flats to put a fire out. Please report any damage to Dry Risers and do not obstruct them.
We regularly check and fix any communal fire doors in need of repair. If you see a fire door in need of repair please let us know and we will fix it as a priority. Never wedge open fire doors. These are the self-closing glazed doors in the communal corridors and staircases of blocks of flats.
We are increasing our fire safety checks and have developed a plan of enhanced maintenance and enforcement with the London Fire Brigade.
Although serious fires are quite rare, sadly around 400 people die in accidental house fires each year in the UK.
We are doing all we can to minimise any fire risk in your home, so please help us by following this advice.