Fire Safety

Would you know what to do if there was a fire in your home?

Do you know how to keep your loved ones safe?

At Tai Calon we take fire safety very seriously and consider it a top priority. We are continuously striving to improve when it comes to fire safety and along with our relationship with the Fire Service and other fire safety professionals, we have built programmes of investment to address any risks identified to ensure that we maintain high standards for the future.

To maintain the high standards of fire safety in maisonettes and blocks of flats i t’s essential that:

  • All flat front doors, corridor doors and staircases must be ‘self-closing’ fire doors.
  • Fire doors must not be held or wedged open. They must ‘self-close’ properly as they are designed to stop the spread of fire.
  • Items are not to be stored in corridors or staircases if blocking fire exit routes.
  • Storage on balconies is kept to a minimum.
  • Everyone who lives in your home knows what to do in the event of a fire.
  • There are signs that show you how to escape fire. Fire Safety!

Do you know what to do in the event of a fire? Depending on what type of property you live in, there is different advice from the Fire Service:

Why is it usually safer to stay put in your flat? And what does “Stay Put” mean? Unless your flat is being affected by fire or smoke, the advice ‘stay put’ is based on the fire protection provided in the building and the walls and doors of each flat. This has been the case for many decades and, although fires in flats unfortunately occur throughout the country every day, the fire usually only affects the flat on fire. However, some smoke may enter corridors when the residents leave the flat on fire, or fire-fighters enter the flat to extinguish the fire. By ‘staying put’ it will reduce the risk of you entering a smoky corridor unnecessarily and potentially being overcome by smoke. It will also allow our fire-fighters to tackle the fire safely and quickly without being delayed by many residents evacuating down the stairways.

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What should I do if there’s a fire in the block of flats or maisonettes?

If your home is being affected by fire or smoke and your escape route IS CLEAR:

  • Get everyone out, close all windows and doors and walk calmly out of the building.
  • Do not use the lift, if one is present.
  • Call 999, give your address, the number of your flat and state which floor the fire is on.

If there is a fire or smoke inside your home but your escape route IS NOT CLEAR:

  • It may still be safer to stay in your flat or maisonette until the fire brigade arrives.
  • Find a safe room close the door and use soft materials to block any gaps to stop the smoke.
  • Go to a window, shout “HELP, FIRE” and call 999.
  • Be ready to describe where you are and the quickest way to reach you.

If there is a fire in another part of the building:

Purpose-built maisonettes or blocks of flats are built to give you some protection from fire. Walls, floors and doors can hold back flames and smoke for 30 to 60 minutes.

  • You are usually safer staying put in your flat and calling 999.
  • Tell the fire brigade where you are and the best way to reach you.
  • If you are within the common parts of the building, leave and call 999.

If there’s a fire in my house or Bungalow?

If your home is being affected by fire or smoke and your escape route IS CLEAR:

  • Get everyone out
  • Call 999, give your address
  • DON’T RETURN TO YOUR HOME – GET OUT AND STAY OUT

If there is a fire or smoke inside your home but your escape route IS NOT CLEAR:

  • Find a safe room, close the door and use soft materials to block any gaps around the door to stop the smoke from coming in.
  • Go to a window, shout “HELP, FIRE” and call 999.
  • Be ready to describe where you are and the quickest way to reach you.

Smoke Alarms

Your home is fitted with smoke alarms. Make sure that these are not tampered with. The smoke alarms are wired into the electrical supply in you property and are checked annually by Tai Calon. You should check the alarm weekly by pressing the test button on the unit.

In the Kitchen

Over half of fires in the home are caused by cooking accidents.

  • Take extra care if you leave the kitchen when cooking. Take pans off the stove or turn the heat down.
  • Make sure saucepan handles don’t stick out,they could easily be knocked off the stove.
  • Take care if you’re wearing loose clothing, which can easily catch fire if caught on something hot.
  • Keep tea towels and cloths away from the cooker and hob.
  • Where possible, use spark devices instead of matches or lighters to light gas cookers.
  • Double check the cooker is off when you’ve finished cooking.
  • Keep electrics (leads and appliances) away from water.
  • Check that the toaster is clean and placed away from curtains and paper kitchen rolls which could catch fire.
  • Keep the oven, hob and grill clean and in good working order. A build up of fat and grease can ignite a fire.
  • Don’t put anything metal in the microwave.

Deep fat frying

  • Take care when cooking with hot oil – it can catch fire easily.
  • Avoid splashing by making sure food is dry before putting it into hot oil.
  • If the oil starts to smoke – it’s too hot. Turn off the heat and allow it to cool.
  • Use a thermostat controlled electric deep fat fryer. They can’t overheat.

What to do if a pan catches fire…

  • Don’t panic and don’t take risks.
  • Don’t move the pan.
  • Never throw water or use a fire extinguisher on a hot fat fire.
  • If it’s safe to do so – turn off the heat, but never lean over the pan to reach the controls.
  • Leave the kitchen, close the door behind you, tell everyone else in the home to get out and don’t go back inside for any reason.
  • Call 999

How to avoid electrical fires

  • Always use the right fuse in a plug to prevent overheating.
  • Make sure an electrical appliance has a British or European safety mark. If it is second-hand always get it checked by a qualified electrician before using it.
  • Try to keep to one plug, one socket, certain appliances like a washing machine are high powered and should not be plugged into an extension lead or adaptor plug.
  • Check the current rating of the extension lead before plugging appliances into it. Know its limit – most are rated at 13 amps, but some can have a lower rating.
  • Check electrical leads and plugs for wear and tear, as well as faulty wiring. Frayed leads or exposed internal wires are fire risks and should be replaced immediately.
  • Remember:hot plugs and sockets, fuses that blow for no reason, flickering lights and scorch marks on sockets and plugs are signs of
  • danger.
  • Store electric blankets either flat or rolled up to protect the internal wiring.
  • Only leave an electric blanket switched on overnight if it has thermostatic controls for safe all-night use. Otherwise switch it off and unplug it, before you get into bed.
  • Have your electric blankets regularly checked for wear and tear by a qualified expert.
  • Do not use hot water bottles in a bed with an electric blanket.
  • Switch off and unplug electrical appliances if you are not using them, especially at night before you go to bed. Only leave on equipment, which is designed to be on, like a fridge or freezer. You will save money on your fuel bill if you don’t leave appliances, like TVs, on standby.
  • Place portable heaters against a wall; never put them along your escape route out of your home.
  • Do not leave portable heaters near curtains or furnishings. Do not use them to dry clothes.
  • Do not place furniture or bedding close to heaters or fires.

Furniture

  • Make sure your furniture has the fire-resistant permanent label.

Cigarettes

Fires caused by smoking kill more people than any other type of fire. A cigarette can burn at temperatures of over 700 degrees Celsius.

  • Stub cigarettes out properly and dispose of them carefully.
  • Never smoke in bed.
  • Use a proper ashtray – never a wastepaper basket – and make sure it can’t tip over.
  • Do not empty ashtrays into bins; place them in a metal container and preferably outside.
  • Avoid smoking if you are tired, taking prescription drugs or have been drinking.You may fall asleep and set your bed or sofa on fire.
  • Keep matches and lighters out of the reach of children.

Candles

On average three fires a day are started by candles.

  • Put out candles when you leave a room and make sure they have been properly extinguished before you go to bed. Use a snuffer or a spoon to put out candles. It’s safer than blowing them out as sparks can fly.
  • Make sure candles are firmly upright in a proper holder and placed on a heat resistant surface. Candles and tea lights can melt plastic surfaces like the tops of televisions and bathtubs.
  • Keep them away from anything that can easily catch fire like curtains, shelving, fabrics and other furnishings.
  • Do not leave children or pets alone with lit candles.
  • Do not lean across candles! You could set fire to your clothes or hair.
  • Do not let anything fall into the hot wax and keep at least 10cm (4”) between two burning candles.

Plan your escape and get out alive!

Be prepared…

Keep door and window keys where everyone can find them.

  • Plan an escape route and make sure everyone knows what to do in a fire and how to get out of the property.
  • Make sure children know they should not hide if they hear a smoke alarm or are involved in a house fire.
  • Keep exits clear.
  • The best route is the normal way in and out of your home.
  • Think of a second route in case the first one is blocked.
  • Take a few minutes to practice your escape plan. Make sure children know the route as well.
  • Review your plan if the layout of your home changes.
  • At night, close all doors, you can protect your escape routes from smoke and fire this way.

If a fire starts

  • Try and keep calm.
  • Get everyone out as quickly as possible.
  • Do not waste time investigating the fire or collecting your belongings.
  • If there is smoke, crawl where the air is clearer.
  • Once outside, call 999 and ask for the fire service.
  • State your address clearly and give as much detail as possible.
  • Do not go back inside a burning properly.

What to do if your escape is blocked

  • If you can’t get out, get everyone into one room, ideally with a window and a phone. Put something, like bedding, around the door to stop smoke getting into the room.
  • Open the window and shout “HELP FIRE”.
  • If you can’t open the window, break the glass in the corner. Cover jagged edges with a towel or blanket.
  • If you are on the ground or first floor, you may be able to get out through the window. Use bedding to cushion your fall and lower yourself – don’t jump.

How to escape from a high level building like a block of flats

  • Avoid using lifts and balconies if there is a fire.
  • It is easy to get confused in smoke, so count how many doors you need to go through to reach the stairs.
  • Check there is nothing in the corridors or stairways that could catch fire – keep communal areas clear of prams, furniture and plants that could fuel a fire or pose a trip hazard.
  • Make sure you and everyone living in your home know where the fire alarms are and how to operate them.
  • Do not block access roads to the building
  • Do not change the entrance door to your flat without our permission. Entrance doors have to adhere to fire safety standards.

If the fire is in another part of the building

  • It will usually be safe to stay in your home, unless told to get out by a member of the Emergency Services or by your Scheme Manager (if living in a Supported Living Scheme).
  • You must leave if your home is affected by smoke.
  • For your own safety, do not investigate a fire or incident elsewhere in the building or scheme.