Published on 08 February 2022
All residents should make themselves aware of the correct procedures to follow if a fire should break out in their home or wider building. All our properties have procedures in place regarding what to do in the event of a fire, which must be followed.
You’re responsible for making sure you know what the procedure is for the scheme where you live - it is critical that you familiarise yourself with it, and that you 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 car park or neighbouring property.
Your flat front door is a fire door and helps to protect you in the event of a fire in your home or other parts of the building. Here are some simple checks that you can carry out to ensure your door provides appropriate protection:
- Door fully closes - Fire doors need to automatically close. Open the door halfway, let it go and allow it to close. It should close firmly without sticking on the floor or the frame.
- Door frame condition - Door frames must be firmly attached to the wall and free from damage.
- Seals are in place - Fire doors must be fitted with intumescent strips and smoke seals. Make sure these are in place, well attached inside the groove in the frame or door leaf, continuous around the frame, and free from damage.
- Door closer works correctly - Fire doors must have a door closer to ensure they shut automatically. Make sure this is correctly attached and free from damage.
- Damage-free door - Check that all parts of the fire door are free from damage which could reduce their effectiveness. Make sure any glass isn’t cracked.
It’s important to ensure that there’s a working smoke alarm in your home. Please test your smoke alarm regularly, and if it’s not working, check the battery. If this does not resolve the issue, please report this as a repair.
Please note, if you’re a factoring customer in Scotland, you’re responsible for maintaining any smoke and fire detection systems installed within your flat.
Although your safety is most important, you should also make sure that you take out contents insurance, as this is not included in your rent. Having contents insurance will ensure that you can replace your belongings in the event of a fire, or another incident.
Our ‘Stay put’ policy
Fire and rescue services work with local authorities, developers, management committees and tenants to ensure the fire safety arrangements are safe and appropriate for each block or building. Residents living in some of our tower blocks, or private retirement developments are asked to follow a 'Stay put' policy. This is displayed on signage within the communal areas.
This policy means that, in the event of a fire, anyone in the flat where the fire has started should make their way out of the building immediately, and those in all other flats should stay put in their flats unless asked to leave by the Fire Service. If you’re in a communal area, such as stairwell or corridor, you should leave the building immediately.
It's important to remember that, although it may go against your instincts to stay put during a fire, buildings with a stay put policy have been built in such a way as to protect the people inside should a fire break out. All the doors are fire doors, so keep them closed to avoid the fire spreading.
What to do if there’s a fire in your flat or apartment
If you live in a building that doesn’t have a stay-put policy, the following advice applies:
If you’re 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 assembly point.
If a fire 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.
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’re safely out of the building, call the Fire Service immediately by dialling 999.
If it’s safe to do so, inform other residents. There will be fire alarm points on all floors in blocks of flats and these just need a gentle push to activate the alarm. It’s important to still call 999, so that the emergency services know it isn't a drill or a mistake.
The Fire Service should always be called to a fire, even if it only seems small. When you’re put through to the operator, ask for the fire service. When transferred, you should tell them the address where the fire is happening.
Do not end the call until the operator tells you to, as they may require further details regarding the fire and/or your present situation.
If you 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 provide protection in the event of a fire: houses do not.
If you’re in a room where a fire has developed, leave straight away and, if safe to do so, close any doors as you go to delay the fire spreading.
Again, make sure you have a plan in place in case of a fire in your home.
What not to do in the event of a fire
- Don't attempt to fight the fire or go back into the building.
- Don’t 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.
- Don’t put yourself or anyone else in danger, and never re-enter the building.
- Don’t 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 escape plan in the event of a fire, and make sure all members of your family understand the plan – including evacuation routes, and outside meeting places.
Further fire safety guidance is available from GOV.UK.