Frequently Asked Questions on Fire Safety
What should I do if discovering a fire in my flat?
If the fire is in your flat raise the alarm and leave your flat.
Call the emergency services on 999 and report the location of the fire to the fire services.
If safe to do so warn others in common areas of the building.
Leave the building by the nearest fire exit and go outside to a place of safety.
What if there is a fire in a communal (shared) area or someone else’s flat?
If the fire is in a communal area or in another flat, (unless you feel in danger) stay in your flat and wait for the fire services to either rescue you or give the all clear.
If I see a fire in external area should I call the fire service?
Absolutely yes. CBH staff can’t be everywhere, so even if you see a small fire near a block of flats, please call 999 and get the fire services out immediately.
There is no smoke detection or call points in the common / shared areas, surely that’s not correct?
Yes this is the best procedure. The issue with smoke detection and call points in common areas is that the fire services get numerous false alarms. Don’t forget CBH have smoke detection in all flats.
We don’t have fire extinguishers either is that right?
Yes, we don’t have fire extinguisher units in common areas as there are no trained persons to use them and, unfortunately history has shown that they tend to get misused, stolen or used to prop doors open.
Why can’t we have items in the common / shared areas, not even a mat. Is this not taking fire safety too far?
We know this can upset some people, but we have to keep the shared areas clear. Having combustibles items in these areas could aid the spread of fire and hinder escape or rescue. Also, these present a trip hazard under normal circumstances, even worse if in a smoke-filled corridor. It is stated in the LG guide for purpose-built bocks of flats and backed up by Essex Fire and Rescue that that all common areas should remain clear at all times. The Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Regulations 2015 tells us that we have a responsibility to keep the common areas safe so this is Law.
What can I do to help reduce the risk of a fire in the common / shared areas and outside the block?
As above keeping all areas clear of items including immediately outside the building remaining vigilant to any abandoned items and report to CBH. This will take away any source of fuel for potential arson or any fire spread.
So, where can I smoke?
Inside your own flat or away from the building. No smoking is allowed adjacent to the building, please be over 3 meters away, this includes the use of e-cigarettes.
What precautions must I take when using medical oxygen ?
Signage is to be placed on your front door. Do not use oxygen near a source of heat or ignition. Under no circumstances is smoking or the use/charging of e-cigarettes allowed when you are using or near medical oxygen. Please be aware that oxygen can enrich your clothing for up to 20 minutes after use, so avoid heat/smoking till after then.
Have formal fire risk assessments been undertaken?
Yes, competent persons have undertaken fire risk assessments on every block of flats that have common/shared areas.
Is there anything more that as residents we must/can't do?
As per the CBH fire policy you must:
- Not interfere with or replace without express permission any door, windows or part of the structure of the premises you are living in that directly helps protect an emergency escape route.
- Not holding/wedging open any fire doors, either to your own premises or in common areas
- Report any fire related incidents, hazards and near misses to CBH via the helpline. This includes items stored in common areas i.e corridors and landings.
- Not store or charge a mobility scooter in any area without the express permission of CBH, this includes common areas, the premises you live in and outside areas adjacent to the building.
- Not store large quantities of flammable materials in your place of residence
- If you are a Leaseholder, provide an annual gas safety inspection certificate.