Everyone has a role to play when it comes to fire safety.
How to stay safe at home: fire safety guide
We work in partnership with Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) and independent fire safety experts to make sure all our homes are as safe as possible for our customers.
Many people don't realise how quickly a fire can spread. That’s why it’s so important that you take all the steps you can to protect your family and your home against the threat of fire.
If a fire breaks out in your home, call 999 immediately.
Fire safety precautions
There are lots of simple things you can do at home to reduce the risk of fire in your home.
Did you know that you are four times more likely to die in a house fire if you don’t have a working smoke alarm? All of our Home Group smoke alarms have a test button so give it a press at least once a week to make sure the batteries are working. It might seem small but it could mean the difference between life and death.
If there’s a problem with your smoke alarm, please call us straight away on 0345 141 4663.
Most fires start when people are in the kitchen, so please be extra careful when cooking. Even something as simple as boiling pasta can very quickly turn into a dangerous situation if you’re not careful. Always turn pan handles inwards and keep them away from children at all times. If your pan starts smoking, take it off the heat straight away and leave it to cool.
If you’re using a chip pan, never have more than one third of oil in it and never leave a chip pan alone while it’s in use.
Try to get into the habit of closing all doors in your home before you go to bed. If a fire broke out, the closed doors would help stop it from spreading. You should also switch off electrical items at night, like TVs and computers, and double check that your oven and heaters aren’t on.
Putting too many plugs in a socket could cause them to spark and start a fire. Pull out any plugs you aren’t using and regularly check your wires for any signs of damage, such as cuts or frays.
Fire hazards can lurk in just about every corner of your home, so try to keep your home as safe as you can.
Candles: We recommend not using candles in your home as it only takes a second for a candle to be accidentally knocked over. But if you do use them, keep them in a candle holder, away from anything flammable and out of the reach of children or pets at all times.
Smoking: Remember smoking in bed or on a sofa, leaving a cigarette unattended or emptying a hot ashtray can all very quickly lead to disaster too.
Balconies: Balconies are a great place to relax but it’s really important to think about the safety of yourself and others. Just because it’s outdoors doesn’t mean it’s not a fire risk so read our balcony safety leaflet.
Faulty products: Faulty products, like washing machines and tumble dryers, can cause a fire risk to you and your family. You should register your product with the manufacturer so they can keep you up-to-date with any safety information. You can also check the latest recall information on this Product Recall website.
For more information on how you can keep yourself, your family and your neighbours safe, take a look at our fire safety advice leaflet.
Fire safety doors
Like many safety features, fire doors are largely anonymous. It is likely that you walk past dozens of them every day, at home, at work and when you are out and about. Do you ever give them a second thought?
Everyone has a responsibility for keeping a close eye on the fire doors in their building. Don’t wait for someone else to do it because you could be waiting forever, and a fire door could fail when it is needed most.
The five step fire door check is a really simple check that anyone can do to ensure your fire doors are in good working order.
Look for a label or similar marking to show that the door is certified. All locks, latches, closures, and hinges must be CE marked and compatible with the door’s certification. Make sure that door is marked correctly with the correct signage (fire door keep shut).
Ensure all glazing apertures are sealed correctly and not broken or loose in any way as this will void the certification.
3. Gaps and seals
Check the gaps around the door frame are consistent and around 3 to 4 mm. This will prevent smoke and fire from travelling through the cracks. A £1 coin works as a rough guide. Ensure seals are fitted at the top and sides of the doors and that they are not damaged. The seals will expand when in contact with fire and expand through the cracks
Ensure the closure shuts the door onto the latch from any position. Make sure all hinges are fitted correctly with no broken or missing screws. Doors and self-closing devices should not be tampered with.
Ensure the door closes correctly around all parts of the frame securely and adjusted correctly so that it is easy to use. Ensure that it is not damaged in any way and never have a fire door wedged or propped open.
Let us know if something is wrong
These steps will help highlight any issues with the fire door.
Any faults or damage to doors should be reported immediately.
Customers should also allow Home Group access to check their flat entrance doors.
If you see anything concerning, please report it online. You could potentially save lives.
Fire safety FAQs
What fire safety assessments do you carry out?
We carry out a range of checks on a regular basis. Fire alarm systems are tested on a weekly basis and serviced regularly. Our engineers will visit where you live either once a month or once every six months, depending on how complex the alarm systems are.
Some of our buildings require sprinkler systems. If your building has a sprinkler system, it’ll be tested every year. Sprinkler systems are tested to industry standards.
At Home Group, we have a number of experienced fire risk assessment contractors and colleagues throughout the UK. We also have a Primary Authority partnership with Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS), who help us make sure we’re doing everything we can to keep our homes safe and improve our fire safety standards.
What should I do if there's a fire?
We hope you never need to deal with a fire but if the worst happens we want you to feel prepared. Whether you live in a house, block of flats or shared accommodation, it’s always helpful to have a plan and know what to do in an emergency. Make sure any children or elderly people in your home also know what to do.
We have different advice for different places so please read up on the fire procedure for where you live. If you’re not sure, call us on 0345 141 4663 and speak to one of our friendly advisors.
Make sure all communal (shared) areas are kept clear at all times too. They could be a fire hazard or block your escape and fire rescue access. We might need to clear the areas ourselves and charge you if you’ve left any property in these areas.
For more information on how you can keep yourself, your family and your neighbours safe, please read our fire safety advice leaflet.
If a fire breaks out in your home, call 999 immediately.
I’m worried that my home isn’t safe. What should I do
We have thorough health and safety procedures in place to make sure that all of our homes are safe to live in. You should familiarise yourself with the fire action notice which you’ll find on your communal noticeboards. If you have any worries or concerns about the safety of your home please call us on 0345 141 4663.
How can I keep up to date with the latest information about fire safety?
The safety of all our customers is incredibly important to us and we’ll keep you updated about all fire safety measures on our website, social media or through our housing managers, if we need to speak to you directly.
Stay up-to-date by visiting the Government’s:
- Fire safety campaign website
- Guidance about how to make a home safe from fire
- Guidance on fire safety in shared or rented accommodation
If you do have any concerns please contact us.
Who is responsible for checking my smoke alarm?
While we’re responsible for looking after smoke alarms in all Home Group homes you should check your smoke alarm every week using the test button. We’ll also check your smoke alarm during your annual gas safety check. If you don’t have gas in your home then it’s part of your 10 yearly “fixed wire” test.
I think I need a new smoke alarm. Where can I get one?
Does my home need a sprinkler system?
This really depends on the type of home you live in.
In England and Wales
For life safety, new residential blocks over 30m high must be fitted with sprinklers to meet Approved Document B standards. In our new Extra Care Schemes we consider the installation of sprinklers within the individual flats and based on the fire strategy within high risk areas of the building.
Scotland is more advanced with its fire sprinkler legislation, which since 2005 has required sprinklers in all residential buildings including care homes, sheltered housing and high rises above 18m in height.
In June 2018 the Scottish Government announced that it would legislate to require sprinklers in all new social housing. In December 2019 new legislation requires sprinklers in all new apartments and in large Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) with ten or more residents.
You’ve just installed External Wall Insulation (EWI) to my home. Is it safe?
Yes. EWI systems are completely fire resistant and, when installed correctly, provide a very high level of protection. Please note, EWI systems are completely different to the cladding system seen on Grenfell Tower. EWI systems meet all of the UK required standards for fire safety.
Remember, if you have any concerns about the safety of your home please call us on 0345 141 4663.