Fire safety guidance for customers
Created on Wednesday, June 14th, 2017
by Kathryn Shaw
Following news of a major fire in London this morning, we firstly want to offer our sympathies to all those affected by this devastating incident.
In light of today’s events, we would like to reassure residents that our fire safety policies are all approved by the fire service and safety checks are regularly carried out by our health and safety officer.
We also want to remind you all of our fire safety guidance for residents, especially those living in flats.
Below is previous advice published in Derwent Life, that we’d like to share with you once more.
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.
Derwent Living schemes have procedures in place, regarding what to do in the event of a fire, which must be followed.
You are responsible for making sure that you know what the procedure is for the scheme where you live – it’s critical that you familiarise yourself with it and create your own emergency plan based on the advice provided.
Any plan you make must be memorised by your whole family, and should include evacuation routes and external meeting places, such as a neighbour’s house.
Although your safety is the most important issue, you should also make sure that you take out contents insurance, as this is not included in your rent. Having no contents insurance will make it difficult to replace your belongings in the event of a fire.
Stay Put Policy
Residents living in certain Derwent Living flats or apartments are asked to follow our Stay Put Policy, which 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’s 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 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 in the building but are not already in your flat, you should leave.
You can read the entire Stay Put Policy on our website’s publications page.
Fire in your home
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.
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.
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.
If it is safe to do so, inform other tenants; there will be fire alarm points on all floors in the building and 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 isn’t 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.
I don’t live in a flat
Unlike residents living in flats, you should immediately leave a house if a fire occurs. The difference 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.
Again, make sure that you have a plan in place in case of a fire in your home.
What NOT to do
Finally, we’d like to mention just a few things that you should NOT do during a fire.
Don’t attempt to fight the fire or go back into the building; there is no material 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.
Use your instincts
Above all, always remember to use your own instincts.
And remember: always check you have a working smoke alarm, know your plan in the event of a fire and make sure your family knows the plan back to front.
Again, this plan is something that should be practised and it should include evacuation routes, outside meeting places (such as a neighbour’s house a safe distance from the building) and making sure that children know basic fire safety rules.
It can save valuable time and lives.
If you have any questions about specific properties or schemes, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.