Staying safe in your flat

Staying safe in your flat

This page will give you some handy hints and tips to keep you safe and well in your home if you live in a flat.

You can read our leaflet here with some tips on how to stay safe in your home.

Safety in communal areas of your flat

If there is a fire in your building, it is important that:

  • You can easily leave the building, as quickly as possible.
  • The emergency services can enter the property promptly in their rescue missions.
  • There is nothing in the communal area that could easily combust
  • To make your communal areas as safe as possible, please do not store, or leave any belongings in these areas
Can you use the cupboards in your communal area?
  • Meter cupboard – Only non-combustible items, for example, small quantities of cleaning items, should be stored in this cupboard. You should not use this area for storing cardboard, paint or newspapers -anything that could add fuel to the fire.
  • Electricity cupboard – Do not store anything in this cupboard.
  • Cleaning/storage cupboard – You can use this cupboard if it’s no longer required and you have our permission. If we have agreed to you using this, please only store small amounts of non-combustible things like cleaning items. You should not use this area for storing cardboard, paint or newspapers -anything that could add fuel to a fire.

We may remove items left in the communal area if they’re causing an obstruction or hazard. This includes items such as bicycles or pushchairs.

If you have a mobility aid that is currently stored in the communal area, please contact our Neighbourhood and Estates team here. They can discuss with you more suitable storage solutions for these.

Fire Doors

Did you know, a fire door will:

  • Stop a fire inside a flat from spreading to the communal parts and preventing you from escaping via the corridor or staircase.
  • Stop a fire in the communal areas of a block of flats spreading into a flat, where you may be sheltering until the fire service arrives.
  • Provide you with security.

All flat doors which open into a communal escape route must be fire-resistant and self-closing. Please note it is important that these fire doors are not left open. Failure to comply could invalidate any property, contents, or any other insurance policy you have in place.


These can also present a high level of risk. If you have a balcony, any items in this location must be fireproof. We also don’t allow the storage or use of barbecues, fuel containers and gas bottles on these.

You must report any damage to a balcony to our Repairs team on 0300 3300 900 options 2, 1 and 1.

Smoke and heat alarms in your flat


  • 90 people die each year because the battery in their smoke alarm was flat or missing.
  • Over half of home fires are caused by cooking accidents.
  • More than five fires a day start by unattended candles.
  • Every three days someone dies from a fire caused by a cigarette.
  • A fire can start from the crumbs in your toaster.

Smoke alarms are the easiest way to keep you and your family safe in case of a fire.

  • Make checking your smoke alarm part of your regular household routine.
  • Test it by pressing the button until the alarm sounds. If it doesn’t sound, you need to replace the battery.
  • If your smoke alarm starts to beep on a regular basis, report this to our repairs team and we will arrange to replace your detector.
  • Do you have a ten-year alarm? Our contractors will look to replace these for you at the end of the ten-year period.

We will test smoke alarms in communal areas regularly.

It is also important to note we have a combination of hard-wired and battery-operated smoke alarms in operation in our properties. If you are unsure of which one is in your home, please contact us.

How you can take extra care when you are cooking

  • When the cooker is on, don’t leave children alone in the kitchen and stay alert.
  • Keep tea towels, cloths, and any other materials away from the cooker.
  • Make sure when you finish in the kitchen, all the appliances are off.

How you can avoid a fire in your home

  1. Keep electricals away from water
  2. Don’t put anything metal in the microwave
  3. Don’t overload a plug socket
  4. Unplug any appliances, this helps reduce the risk of fire
  5. Keep candles away from soft furnishings
  6. Don’t use faulty electrical devices, e.g. items with damaged casing or loose & exposed wiring
  7. If there is a fire, know your escape route
  8. Keep tea towels away from cookers and toasters

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