Fire safety is a top priority for Derwent Living and the safety of customers is something that the organisation takes very seriously. All fire safety risk assessments are kept up to date and Derwent Living undertakes lots of work each and every day to make sure properties are as safe as they can be for our residents to live in.
For blocks of flats, checks of communal areas are carried out on a monthly basis by staff, to ensure we are compliant; this means making sure that there are no obstructions or objects left in corridors or entrance halls, which could make it difficult to evacuate or could even help the fire spread.
Our fire safety policies, which are reviewed annually and include the Stay Put policy, are all approved by the fire service. Our health and safety officer works with the fire service and independent experts, regularly carrying out safety checks at all schemes. All of our buildings are compliant with both fire safety and building regulations.
Stay Put policy
Residents living in certain Derwent Living flats or apartments are asked to follow our Stay Put policy. This policy has received criticism in media following the Grenfell Tower fire, but in the smaller type of blocks that Derwent Living owns it is really the best way to protect you and your family from a fire.
If you have such a policy in operation at your scheme, there will be signage in your building to tell you what to do and you can also find a copy here. Please read this information carefully.
Stay Put policies make use of fire doors which offer significant protection from fire. The fire doors in Derwent Living flats prevent the spread of fire for a minimum of 30 minutes, allowing time for the fire service to arrive. If the fire is outside of your flat, or preventing your exit from the building, the advice is to close as many doors as possible between yourself and the fire and await rescue. As mentioned earlier, Derwent Living does not own any high-rise buildings, and even on the top floor of our tallest buildings, the fire service has the necessary equipment to be able to reach at that height.
If you live in a house, not a flat, then the advice is to evacuate immediately.
Have a plan
Above all, always remember to use your instincts. No matter what type of property you live in, always have a plan, practice it and make sure the whole family knows what to do. It can save valuable time and lives.
If you’re concerned, we recommend that you check the fire safety guidance for your scheme, especially those living in flats. And please feel free to send any questions via the enquiry centre.
Fire safety on balconies
Balconies are a great addition to properties, but there are some guidelines that must be followed to make sure they don’t increase the risk of a fire developing or spreading.
If you have a balcony, please follow our advice set out below, which has been developed with fire risk assessors and using guidance from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government:
- Do not use or store barbecues on your balcony under any circumstances
- Do not use or store gas bottles, lighter fluid or other liquids that could add to a fire on your balcony
- Do not use other materials such as wooden privacy screens as these can help to spread a fire should one occur
- Reduce clutter and keep items on your balcony to a minimum
- If you smoke, make sure that you fully extinguish cigarettes in a suitable ashtray and never flick them off your balcony.
Fire door safety for leaseholders
A special leaflet created for leaseholders about replacing and maintaining fire doors can be downloaded here.