It's our responsibility to take steps to stop fires breaking out in communal areas, but you can still make sure your home is as safe as possible.
Statistics show that most fires in blocks of flats start in the flats themselves, not in a communal area, and they can quickly spread if the doors in the flat can't contain the fire.
It’s important to check your flat doors are in good condition and that they shut properly. Never remove internal doors or wedge them open and always make sure they’re closed at night. The difference between an open and closed door could be a valuable few minutes.
Everyone in your home should know where the keys are kept for the main door so they can get outside.
FRONT DOORS OF FLATS
Believe it or not, your front door is a secret weapon against fire in your block - and not just for you, but for your neighbours. It stops fire and smoke spreading to communal areas, and from cutting off the escape routes.
Never change or replace your front door without checking how it could affect fire safety with us. It should have a self-closing device which meets the current fire safety guidance for flats and you must never remove it. Even altering the letterbox or adding a cat flap can affect the fire safety of your building and the communal escape routes.
You must talk to us if you are thinking about making any changes as what you do could affect the fire safety of everyone around you.
FIRE SAFETY IN COMMUNAL AREAS
Legally, we must carry out a fire risk assessment on the communal areas of your building and keep it under review, but there are a few things you can do to help:
- Don’t obstruct communal areas, these are often the escape routes for the block.
- Don’t prop open fire doors in communal areas.
- Don’t clutter the stairs, corridors and landings with personal items or things that can set fire easily.
- Don’t store prams, bicycles or mobility scooters in communal areas.
- If you see anything in the communal areas that doesn’t belong there, remove it or tell us and we will.
- Don’t store flammable materials in cupboards that have electrical circuits.
- Make sure you put all rubbish in the bins provided — don’t leave it lying around in the refuse area.
Just following this simple advice could help to keep you, your family and your neighbours safe.
The best way to protect yourself from fire is to not let it happen.