Frequently Asked Questions

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Fire Safety: Stay put

According to Government statistics confirmed by the combined Fire & Rescue services of the United Kingdom 2015-2016, the number of fire-related incidents have fallen by almost 70% since 2004.

 

Fire safety in your flat

This briefing is to provide you with assurance that the Stay Put policies we have in place do in fact work, and that you as a resident should trust the advice that it is safer to remain in your dwelling than to try and escape – UNLESS you are placed at imminent danger by remaining in your flat.

 

What is Stay Put?

Stay Put simply means that unless the fire is in your flat, you should remain in your flat with the front door fully closed, and with you and your family by the window with a phone to hand. In this situation, you are protected by something called Fire Compartmentation.

 

What is Fire Compartmentation

Fire Compartmentation method protects your flat, along with the building, and is achieved through the building’s fabric that surrounds you keeping the fire at bay (for example, through the walls and ceiling and floors of your flat).

In addition to this fire resisting enclosure, you are also protected with your 30-minute fire and smoke sealed door. This has been designed to withhold fire, heat and smoke for approximately 30 minutes. See here for a short video carried out by Lorient – a world leader in Fire protection equipment which demonstrates how effective they are in a real fire. Please note that some fire doors are called “notional fire doors” and these doors may not have smoke seals fitted.

Effective Fire Compartmentation has been proven to work in the many hundreds of thousands of purpose built blocks of this nature around the world. Although fires do occur in buildings, statistics prove most of them are in owner occupied / mortgaged dwellings and not social landlord’s buildings.

Compartmentation means keeping the fire in a box. If the fire is outside of your flat and your front door is fully closed, then the fire and smoke should remain outside your flat for a considerable time.

 

Am I at more risk living in a flat?

The London Fire Brigade have stated that “Living in a flat is no more dangerous than living in a house”. The law (The Regulatory Reform {Fire Safety} Order 2005) protects you in your flat but does not come into consideration if you own your house.

To further protect our buildings, we carry out regular Fire Risk Assessments (building inspections) and are mid-way through a programme of improvements aimed at improving compartmentation, particularly on some of our older buildings. However, our buildings as they currently stand will adequately withstand a fire, but in certain cases we have taken the decision to replace fire doors rather than upgrade them. This is to ensure a higher standard of workmanship and to provide greater fire resistance performance.

The London Fire Brigade (LFB) have created and posted on their website a very simple 2 minute video to assist those who live in flats with the understanding why, in principle and in practice, it’s better to stay in you flat UNLESS the fire is in your flat, and you can visit this video here.

 

What more can I do to stay safe?

It is always advisable that you should plan ahead to protect yourself and anyone who lives with you in your home from a fire occurring, and should a fire start inside your home, you need to know what to do.

This video from the LFB will help you plan for this unfortunate incident and it should be taken into consideration with our policy accordingly. This is only applicable to you if the fire is in your flat or if you have been asked to evacuate the building by the emergency services.

We encourage all residents to maintain clear escape routes both within their flat and in communal areas. In the event of a fire, having clutter could block your exits and delay your escape, and may also prevent the emergency services from reaching you.

To keep your smoke alarm in good working order (where applicable), you should test it once a month, by pressing the test button until the alarm sounds, and change the battery once a year (unless it’s a ten-year alarm). You should also clean your smoke alarm once every three months using the soft brush of your vacuum cleaner, as this will ensure you remove any excess dust or insects. You should replace the whole unit every 10 years.

 

Faith in the Fire Service – what will they do?

The London Fire Brigade, along with the other 45 fire services, train day and night to ensure that they know exactly what to do in these situations. When they attend a building fire, they already know a lot of information about the building and will already create a plan as they drive towards it. Once on site they will establish very quickly where the fire is and where applicable will use the Fire Alarm panel located near the front door help find the location, and at that point they will devise a plan to:

 

I still have concerns, who do I talk to?

You can call our customer services advisor on: 0800 054 6710 if you have any concerns about fire safety in your property. You will be put through to someone you can assist you.

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