Fire safety in your home – multi-storey blocks

by The Gateshead Housing Company & filed under Help in your home - fire safety, Help in your home - multi-storey accommodation.

The Gateshead Housing Company works in partnership with Gateshead Council and Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service to keep you safe in your home.

This information is provided to all new residents in multi-storey blocks and tells you how to prevent fires and what to do if a fire starts in your block.

Fires in these blocks are rare. Even if one does start, if you follow these simple guidelines, you and your family will remain safe.

Preventing fires

Smoking in communal areas is not allowed. This includes lifts, corridors and stairwells. Please wait until you have left the block before lighting up cigarettes.

This also applies to any visitors to your home.

Communal areas 
It is important that communal areas are kept clear.

In the corridor, on stairwells or on a landing could provide fuel for a fire or block escape routes.

If you see such hazards please contact your caretaker who will arrange for its removal.

Bulky items
Gateshead Council provides a collection service for large items, such as mattresses and sofas. To arrange a collection date call the Customer Service Centre on 0191 433 7000.

This is a chargeable service and the cost will depend on the number of items to be collected.

They will advise you of how much it will be when you call. Items should be brought to the ground floor on the agreed day and placed in the collection area.

Your caretaker can advise where that is for your block.

If you need help getting the item to the collection point please ask your caretaker for assistance.

Your belongings
We know you may want to personalise outside your home.

However, this can increase fire risk and obstruct your escape and the emergency services access in the event of a fire.

We want to balance ability to make it your home with the need to maintain fire safety. We would request that you do not place any personal items in communal areas.

However, welcome mats that are not a potential tripping hazard can be placed in these areas.

If you have any questions about this please speak to your caretaker or estate officer.

Mobility scooters
Scooters are only allowed if you can store it safely inside your home. They should not be stored in communal areas, including corridors and landings, as these areas were not designed for it.

There is potential for the escape route for residents to be cut off and access by the emergency services to be hindered in the event of a fire.

Dangerous materials
Do not keep things that burn easily in your block.

We do not allow portable gas or paraffin heaters, motorbikes or containers of liquid fuel or gas bottles in blocks, because they can very easily ignite.

Most home fires start in the kitchen. Chip pans are especially dangerous.

Make sure pans are no more than one third full and never go out of the kitchen when the pan is on.

Do not leave towels or laundry over or near cooking rings.

Reporting faults
If you have an emergency repair that could be a fire risk report it immediately day or night to our HomeRepairs service.

At night

  • Switch off and unplug electrical items that do not run permanently
  • Empty ashtrays and shut all internal doors to stop a fire spreading quickly
  • Do not smoke in bed.

Preventing deliberate fires
You can help prevent the potential of deliberate fires by keeping communal areas clear of rubbish.

You should also be careful about who you let in the building and report anyone acting suspiciously to your caretaker, the police or estate officer.

Maintaining fire safety equipment

  • Fire doors are fitted with self-closing devices that close doors automatically behind you.
  • Never prop them open
  • These doors will protect your escape routes and slow the spread of fire and smoke if a fire does start
  • Rubbish chute hoppers should be fully closed after being used
  • If the one in your block does not close fully please tell your caretaker
  • If your home is fitted with a hard-wired smoke alarm we will carry out an annual service to make sure it is working properly
  • But, if you have any concerns or questions about your smoke alarm please contact your caretaker or estate officer
  • Your caretaker carries out a monthly Health and Safety inspection of your block
  • If you see any safety equipment such as fire hydrants or emergency lighting that are damaged, your smoke alarm does not
  • work or neighbours are propping fire doors open, please tell your caretaker immediately.

If fire does break out

In your own flat

  • If you are in the same room as the fire, get out and ensure anyone in that room leaves with you
  • Do not try to put the fire out
  • Close the door to the room where the fire is located, if safe to do so
  • Tell everyone in your home about the fire then get them out of the flat
  • Close the front door and make your way down the stairway. Do not use the lift
  • Call the fire service on 999
  • Remain at the front of the building to direct the fire brigade to the floor with the fire.

Elsewhere in the building

  • Call the fire service on 999
  • If your flat is linked to the concierge service or Care Call use this to alert employees, but only after first calling 999
  • Stay in your own flat. The block is designed to keep you safe if a fire breaks out anywhere else
  • Close all the windows and doors
  • Only get out if your flat is directly affected by heat or smoke, or you are instructed to do so by the emergency services.

Emergency access 
Do not park your vehicle in any area marked as designated for emergency vehicles, by fire hydrants or block any access points to the building.

Further information
If you want any further advice or information about fire safety please contact Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service on 0191 444 1500 or visit

Contact details for your caretaker are displayed in the foyer on the ground floor of your block.

Alternatively, contact the housing company’s High Rise Team on 0191 433 5372 or 0191 433 5370.