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High and low rise fire safety

The safety of our tenants is really important to us and is something we improve continuously. We have recently completed a review of our fire safety policy in our high and low rise properties and are working closely with the West Midlands Fire Service.

As a landlord we have a duty of care for residents, their visitors and our employees within our properties. It is a requirement by law we ensure the risk of fire and smoke is minimised within our blocks and this is enforced by the fire service. This is the same for all local authorities and housing providers.

The review identified the use of communal areas by residents for storage and the installation of potentially flammable items. These objects pose a threat to anyone within the building and need to be removed urgently.

Risks found include:

  • Self-powered mobility scooters stored in communal areas including landings, stairwells and entrance halls - these need to be located in suitable areas, preferably within owners’ flats. Seek advice from your housing manager if you cannot store your scooter inside your property.
  • Self-powered mobility scooters not regularly serviced and charged in correctly eg extension wires through letterboxes - we recommend regular safety checks and correct battery charging within flats.
  • Incorrect fixtures, fittings and personal belongings located within communal areas eg carpets, curtains, mats, furniture, loose rugs, etc. These must be removed. If possible we will supply, or suggest, an alternative.
  • Combustible and easily ignited items must not be stored in communal areas. These should be disposed of correctly in accordance with guidance provided by the council.
  • Battery chargers (laptops, tablets, phones, e-cigarettes, e-readers, etc) used incorrectly and/or unsafe chargers being used. Use battery chargers supplied with device or purchase quality replacements. Make sure replacements have the CE mark and the correct output. Do not leave items charging overnight, or unattended, or new flammable items as they are a fire risk. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for use.

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.

Within communal areas you can have non slip backed door mats (no larger than 70cm x 40cm) and a limited number of live plants within non flammable pots, as long as they do not pose an obstruction/hazard.

All flats should have smoke alarms installed and serviced annually (serviced during an annual gas safety check or periodic electrical inspection) - if you do not have one, or yours is not working, please telephone 0300 555 8283.

Make sure you, and your family, have a safety plan in place. You should know where emergency exits are located, where to meet in the event of afire, have your gas appliances and smoke alarms checked and have an obstacle free escape route. If you live in a high rise property you should remain in your property until the fire brigade tell you that you can leave using a safe exit route.