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Your fire safety questions answered with a tenant who lives in a flat

Your fire safety questions answered with a tenant who lives in a flat

TRIO – The Responsibility Is Ours - and Together Housing’s Compliance Team are jointly visiting blocks of flats to talk to tenants about fire safety and other issues. We put tenants’ fire safety questions to our Compliance Team.

Fire Marshal

There are internal vents that blow air into bathrooms/toilets. What is in place to stop these spreading fire and smoke, as there is no automatic sealing visible?

The vents are there to extract air and disperse it into the atmosphere. The ducts are made to ensure smoke/flame cannot pass from one compartment to another.

If I am in the kitchen and a fire stops me leaving the flat, what am I meant to do?

Most Together Housing blocks adopt a Stay Safe (also referred to as a Stay Put) policy. If your block does not operate this policy, you will be advised accordingly. Reminders of the policy applied are displayed in communal areas of the block. The basic principles of a Stay Safe/Stay Put policy are;

  • If the fire is in your flat, leave your flat ensuring that you firmly close all doors behind you
  • Make your way to a safe location
  • Alert the fire service by dialling 999
  • If the fire is in your flat but you are unable to evacuate, close the door, if possible place bedding along the bottom of the door to stop smoke entering, make your way to the safest location within your flat, open a window and shout for help. If possible, use a mobile phone to ring 999 and stay close to the window.  

In our community room there is a fire blanket and a water extinguisher, why isn’t there a foam extinguisher?

The overall fire safety risk is assessed annually by a trained Fire Risk Assessor. They will consider all relevant points and if they feel additional equipment is required, they will make the necessary recommendation(s). They may however also recommend that fire fighting equipment is removed (for example after the installation of a sprinkler system).

After living in these flats for over 20 years, why am I not allowed to have a fire-resistant non-slip door mat?

The length of any individual’s tenancy is not relevant and not a factor when the Fire Risk Assessor undertakes their risk assessment. If they recommend that mats are removed, they will have to go.

I have smoke detectors in my flat but I am unable to test them and don’t have anyone I can ask. Will Together Housing help me with this?

This is the responsibility of the respective resident. Together Housing will not make a special visit to your flat to test your smoke detector. If you are physically unable to test your detector, please ask a neighbour, relative, friend or carer to help.

What tests has Together Housing completed after the Grenfell Tower fire to make sure things that failed there won’t fail in my block of flats, as I now feel more vulnerable about fire?

Following the tragedy at Grenfell Tower, Together Housing have worked closely with all relevant fire authorities. Where deemed necessary Together Housing:

  • Held meetings with residents of high-rise blocks immediately after the Grenfell tragedy and listened to concerns/issues.
  • Ensured that all communal areas are sterile and clutter free.
  • Undertaken an electrical safety check to flats (communal areas and individual flats). High-rise blocks were prioritised.
  • Carried out destructive inspections to high-rise blocks.
  • Checked the cladding to all high-rise blocks.
  • Checked the integrity of fire doors and if required replaced them.
  • Regularly highlighted fire safety advice in our publications (and on our website).
  • Introduced residents to be active members of a Fire Safety Group which considers both the content of our policies/procedures and how these can be improved – all relating to fire safety.

Our block used to have monthly block inspections with the neighbourhood officer. We now have about 3 inspections a year. Is a monthly block inspection essential to keep on top of safety issues?

We all have a duty of care to each other. If you see anything that you consider to be a potential risk, please report it.

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