Fire safety

by The Gateshead Housing Company & filed under Help in your home - safety in your home.

Our legal responsibility

Under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Regulations 2005, we have to complete a fire-risk assessment for all high-rise blocks, sheltered accommodation, communal lounges, and low- and medium-rise blocks.

What we do

If you live in a flat, we will carry out a fire risk assessment of the common areas of your block. We will then arrange for any works highlighted by the assessment to be done.

We will regularly review the fire risk assessments.

If your home does not already have smoke alarms, we will fit them. We will service your smoke alarms every year.

We will regularly service and inspect fire safety systems, detectors, and other equipment in blocks, to reduce the risk of fires.

What you must do

If you live in a flat, get to know the fire safety and evacuation procedures. Fire evacuation procedures may differ if you are connected to the Concierge service.

Your stairway is designed to be safe to escape a fire. Always use the stairs to descend to ground level if escaping. Do not use lifts during an emergency.

Keep your flat entrance door in good condition, especially if it is a fire door. Report any damage to fire doors, or fire safety equipment, urgently.

Help keep your home safe

  • Be vigilant when cooking, using candles or any open flames in your home.
  • Make sure cigarettes are put out properly and don’t smoke in bed.
  • Consider getting a fire blanket to use in an emergency.
  • Follow our guidance on electrical safety to prevent fires occurring.
  • Turn off any appliances when not in use.
  • Don’t remove or damage any smoke alarms. Never remove batteries or switch them off. Check them weekly.
  • Don’t store unnecessary flammable items in your home, such as large amounts of paper or clothes.
  • Don’t store belongings or rubbish in corridors or communal areas of flats.
  • Make sure all exits are clear, and you know what to do in the event of a fire.
  • Close doors at night, especially doors to the lounge and kitchen, to prevent fire spreading.

There’s more advice at the Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service website.

High-rise blocks

Be prepared; plan your escape route. Make sure you know what to do if there is an evacuation.

Consider keeping the following essential items to hand:

  • coat
  • shoes
  • medication
  • money
  • mobile phone and charger

When we are working in your block we will tell you if you need to take any special precautions, or if there is any need to alter the evacuation policy from ‘delayed evacuation’ (or ‘stay put’ as you may know it).

If there is a fire

We operate a ‘delayed evacuation’ (or ‘stay put’) policy.

Our multi-storey blocks and sheltered schemes are ‘compartmentalised’ so that fires are contained for a period of time, meaning that it may be safer to ‘stay put’ in your own flat rather than moving to another area of the building.

This gives the fire service time to arrive, bring the fire under control, and direct a safe and controlled evacuation.

If, however, you feel you would be safer leaving the block before the fire service arrives, you should leave by the safest route, without using the lifts.