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Fire safety policies

Created on Monday, December 21st, 2015
by Kathryn Shaw

Following on from our “Twelve Days of Christmas” fire safety blog, here is an article about Derwent Living’s ‘Stay Put Policy’. You can find the policy itself on our website, here.

Fire information for residents who live in flats

There are guidelines you should follow if a fire breaks out in your home

There are guidelines you should follow if a fire breaks out in your home

Derwent Living has responsibilities to ensure that all of our tenants are aware of the correct procedures to follow if a fire should break out in your home.  In particular, we have procedures regarding fires in apartment buildings and blocks of flats, which must be followed.

One of the policies that we use is called the ‘Stay Put Policy’ and it has lots of useful information about what you and your family should do during a fire. Instances have occurred in the past, during which the fire alarm has sounded and residents have left their flats, walking around communal areas to talk to neighbours, opening and closing other doors behind them. This is dangerous and has been flagged by the fire brigade as a potentially life-threatening issue.

It is important to remember that, although it may go against your instincts to stay put during a fire, our flats have been built in such a way as to protect the people in it should a fire break out. All the doors are fire doors, so opening them will make it easier for a fire to spread.

There are different situations you might find yourself in; a serious fire may occur in your flat or it may occur elsewhere in the building. If it occurs inside your home you must NOT try to put the fire out yourself. Fire spreads extremely quickly and the more time you spend trying to put a fire out, the less time you have to take other steps to protect yourself and your family.

That’s why it’s so important that communal areas are kept sterile, as door mats and other items left in these areas become tripping hazards, and can speed the development of a fire.

If you are in the room where the fire is, leave straight away and close the door (if safe to do so). You need to get everybody in your home ready to leave and proceed to the evacuation point. It may be tempting to use the lift, especially if you have difficulty walking, but you must never use the lift during a fire. If you have a balcony, do not use this to exit the building unless it is part of the escape route. When you are safely out of the building, call the fire brigade by dialling 999.

The fire service has flagged the opening of flat doors as a potential danger

The fire service has flagged the opening of flat doors as a potential danger

If you become aware of a fire in the building which is not in your flat, you should stay put and wait for further instructions. Make sure everybody in your home is aware of the situation and get them ready to leave when/if it becomes necessary. If you are not already in your flat, you should leave the building.

However, if your flat is affected by smoke you should evacuate immediately and, if it is safe to do so, inform other tenants. If your building has fire alarm points, activate these as you leave, these just need a gentle push to activate the alarm.

It is always important to still call 999, so that the emergency services know it is not a drill or a mistake.

The fire brigade should always be called to a fire, even if it only seems small. When you are put through to the operator, ask for the fire service. When you are transferred you should tell them the address where the fire is happening. Do not end the call until the operator has repeated the address to you and you are sure they have the correct details.

Finally, we would like to mention just a few things that you should NOT do during a fire.

  • Do not attempt to fight the fire or go back into the building; there is no object in your home that is worth more than you are.
  • Do not attempt to escape through areas affected by smoke; if corridors are affected, stay in your flat, close all doors and get as far away from the smoke as possible.
  • Do not put yourself or anyone else in danger and never re-enter the building.
  • Do not store items of any description in communal areas, walkways or stairwells that could hinder your escape.

Above all, always remember to use your own instincts. Everyone knows that you should have a plan in place, steps you and your family are going to take in the event of a fire. This plan is something that should be practiced and it should include evacuation routes, outside meeting places (such as a neighbour’s house a safe distance from the building) and make sure that children know basic fire safety rules.

If you have any queries about any of the information provided please contact your Housing Officer, who will be happy to help, on 01332 346 477.

Fire information for residents who live in houses

You should practice a plan for getting safely out of your home during a fire

You should practice a plan for getting safely out of your home during a fire

Unlike residents living in flats, you should immediately leave a house if a fire occurs. The difference between the two, is that flats have fire safety doors that protect you in the event of a fire: houses do not. If you are in a room where a fire has developed, leave straight away and, if safe to do so, close any doors as you go to put as much protection between you and the fire as you exit.

As we mentioned previously it is SO important to make sure that you and your family are aware of what to do in a fire; you should have your own plan for getting out of your property as quickly as possible. Again, this plan is something that should be practiced and it should include evacuation routes, outside meeting places that you all know to go to and make sure children know basic fire safety rules.

Once you are in a safe place the fire brigade should always be called, even if the fire only seems small; when you are put through to the operator, ask for the fire service. When you are transferred you should tell them the address the fire is affecting. Do not end the call until the operator has repeated the address to you and you are sure they have the correct details.

Finally some of the advice we gave you previously, mentioning a few things that you should NOT do during a fire. This is still helpful to residents living in houses and bungalows, and we would recommend that you follow these suggestions:

  • Do not attempt to fight a fire or go back into the building; there is no object in your home that is worth more than you are.
  • Do not put yourself or anyone else in danger and never re-enter the building.
  • Think about routes of escape, make sure these are not blocked or difficult to navigate due to items being stored in or around stairs that do not need to be there.
  • Store items within your home safely.
  • Do not store flammable items within your home that will put you or your family at risk.

If you have any queries about any of the information provided please contact your Housing Officer, who will be happy to help, on 01332 346 477.

 

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