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Dudley Council
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Fire safety in high and low rise flats

As a landlord we have a duty of care to residents, their visitors and our employees, within our properties. It is a requirement by law that we ensure the risk of fire and smoke is minimised within our properties and this is enforced by the fire service. The council has the right to take action against any tenants and leaseholders who infringe the fire policy. Residents who do not follow this policy are breaking tenancy or lease conditions but more importantly will be putting themselves and other residents at risk.

Fire safety policy

We recognise that being and feeling safe in your home is most important to how you feel about where you live. Fire represents a risk to resident’s safety and this policy aims to minimise the likelihood of fire occurring in our flatted estates, and the consequences for individuals where it does occur.

In drafting this policy we have been mindful about the way we manage our flatted estates and in particular any shared areas and how they impact on how residents feel about the place they live. This policy attempts to strike a balance between mitigating the risks of fire whilst also providing common and shared areas in our flatted estates that meet residents needs.

Further advice

Fire Safety Advice

People who live in a high-rise are at no greater risk of having a fire because of the type of building in which they live. All high-rise buildings are designed and built to ensure that a fire is contained to the flat where it starts and should not spread to other flats for 60 minutes. This provides time for the fire service to deal effectively with incidents and should ensure that other residents are not affected.

If there is a fire inside a flat or maisonette, the advice is to alert everyone in that particular flat, leave the building by following its evacuation route and access, and close all the doors. Then call 999.

If there’s a fire in your building, but not your particular flat, you’re usually safer to stay there unless you’re being directly affected by heat or smoke.

We suggest everyone living in a flatted estate has a fire emergency plan in place, to ensure everyone within their property knows what to do. If you live in a high rise block and there is a fire, you should remain in your flat if it is safe to do so, unless the fire is within your, or your neighbour’s property, or advised by the fire service to leave. This is the policy endorsed by Dudley Council and the fire service.

If you live in a low rise flat and there is a fire you should leave your property - if it is safe to do so.

You are advised to call 999 immediately for advice and to check that the emergency services know what’s happening. By their very nature, fires are extremely dynamic incidents. Once firefighters arrive and have assessed the situation, advice to remain in your home may have to be repeated or changed – but it will depend on several factors, including the nature and spread of the fire, and the building.

If you live in a high-rise block or tower, though, here are some specific tips:

  • make sure you know the escape plan for your particular building
  • keep exits clear – in your own flat and in shared areas
  • never wedge a fire door open
  • don’t make changes to your flat’s front door without seeking advice from the Council
  • keep corridors and stairwells clear and sterile, eg do not dump rubbish or old furniture there
  • if you have any concerns, raise them as soon as you can with the Council
Emergency Evacuation Plan

If it is ever necessary to evacuate the building in an emergency situation :

  • make sure all persons in your flat are aware of the need to evacuate
  • leave your belongings behind in your flat
  • close the front door behind you
  • follow the emergency routes
  • do not use the lift
  • congregate in a safe area outside the building

Smoke alarms

You should have a smoke alarm fitted at every level of your home.

Testing smoke alarms
It is important that you test your smoke alarms at least once a month - they could save your life.

Smoke alarms supplied by us have 10-year batteries or are wired into your home. These will be tested on a yearly basis which is usually done as part of your annual gas safety check. If any smoke alarms are identified as faulty or are out of date you must allow replacements to be fitted.

If you have not had an alarm installed by Dudley Council, or find that your alarm is not working, telephone 0300 555 8283 to arrange an installation.

If you have installed your own alarm you should test it at least once a month, replace the battery every year if it is replaceable, and gently vacuum to remove any dust.

Kitchen safety

Most fires are caused by accidental fires in the kitchen. Follow the tips below to avoid an emergency.

  • Never leave your cooker unattended when it is in use. Take pans off the heat, or turn the heat down if you need to leave the room.
  • Ensure pan handles are not sticking out so they can’t be knocked off.
  • Keep tea towels and cloths and loose clothing at a safe distance as these can easily catch fire.
  • Always double check the cooker is switched off once you have finished cooking.
  • Never cook if you are under the influence of alcohol, or medication that makes you drowsy.
  • Use a thermostat controlled deep fat fryer to avoid the fat getting too hot and catching fire.

Escape plan

We recommend all residents have a fire plan in place in the event of an emergency. Visit West Midlands Fire Service  for help and advice on creating a fire plan for you home.

Report a repair

  • Repairs in wiring, such as plug sockets and switches both in your home and communal area need to be reported as these can pose a fire risk.
  • You also need to a report any repairs to doors or windows both in your home and communal area.

You can do this online or call us on 0300 555 8283.