Fire prevention and protection

London Fire Brigade 

Contact London Fire Brigade if you require assistance in the event of an emergency. Please phone 999.

You can also report any fire safety concerns you may have regarding your home to the London Fire Brigade. (Do not phone 999, which is for emergencies only).

 

Fire prevention

The best way to way to avoid a fire is to ensure that fire prevention measures in your home and in your block are effective. 

We are here to help with this. If you have any concerns, please contact our fire safety team by emailing firesafety@rbkc.gov.uk or by calling 0800 137 1111. You can also report concerns to your Neighbourhood Co-ordinators.

There are simple steps you can take to make your home safer:

Cooking

  • Do not leave cooking unattended.
  • Use oven-cooked foods instead of deep-fat fried foods.
  • Turn off all cooking appliances when not in use.
  • Keep towels, oven gloves, packaging and other items away from hobs.
  • Keep toasters away from combustible materials and do not use them underneath wall-mounted units.

Electrical equipment

  • Do not overload extension leads.
  • Make sure that plugs are plugged in firmly.
  • Do not use damaged equipment or damaged cables. Get them repaired by a professional.
  • Keep combustible materials away from socket points and cables.
  • Do not plug more than one powerful appliance (such as a kettle or heater) into an extension lead.
  • Fridges, freezers, washing machines, tumble driers and dishwashers (white goods)
  • Check that your white goods are safe and not subject to a product recall.
  • Check the government website: productrecall.campaign.gov.uk
  • Report faulty white goods to the manufacturer for repair or replacement.

Heaters

  • If you choose to use a portable heater make sure it is never located near to furniture, clothing or other combustible materials.
  • Choose a portable heater that is safe – do not use radiant bar heaters. Oil-filled radiator heaters are a safer option.

Candles and incense sticks

  • Never leave candles burning unattended.
  • Ideally, use battery-powered candles or oil burners in place of traditional flame.
  • Make sure they are completely away from curtains, furniture or other combustible materials, and that you fully extinguish them after use.
  • Use a proper tray or holder placed on a non-combustible surface.

Smoking

  • Smoking is the most common cause of fire fatalities.
  • If you smoke, ensure you have a suitable ashtray that cannot tip over.
  • Make sure that you fully extinguish your cigarette in the ashtray.
  • Empty your ashtray regularly.
  • Do not dispose of your cigarette out of a window or off your balcony.
  • Avoid smoking in bed.
  • Smoking is prohibited in all common areas.

Balconies

  • Use of barbecues is not permitted. 
  • Do not cook on your balcony. 
  • Do not store combustible items on your balcony. 
  • Avoid storing bottles or mirrors; these can focus sunlight and start fires. 
  • Avoid use of soft furnishings on any furniture on your balcony. 
  • Preferably use metal furniture on your balcony. 
  • Take extra care if smoking on your balcony and do not dispose of cigarettes over the edge of your balcony. 

Housekeeping

  • Keep routes to your front door clear so you can escape in an emergency.
  • Never store or leave items in the communal areas. These could cause obstructions and trip hazards and be a fire hazard if they are combustible.
  • Report bins or chutes that are overflowing and causing a fire hazard
  • If anyone leaves anything in the common areas, please report it to your Neighbourhood Co-ordinator so we can remove it for everyone’s safety.
  • Do not dump or store items next to or within the building in external areas.
  • Do not leave mirrors by windows; these can focus sunlight and start fires.

Arson

Sadly, fires are started deliberately every year and cause serious damage.

  • Be vigilant to anti-social behaviour and report it to us.
  • Deliberate damage and setting of small fires can quickly escalate into more serious issues.
  • Be aware of tailgaters – people who follow you through communal entrance doors, without using a key or fob.
  • Ensure that housekeeping is well managed, in your home, your block and your external areas.


Fire protection

For blocks with a simultaneous evacuation procedure

Communal fire detection and alarm system

  • Your building has a communal alarm system, with heat and smoke detectors in each flat, as well as smoke detectors in the communal areas, and manual call points.
  • The alarm will alert all residents if there is a fire anywhere in the building so that everyone has enough time to escape.
  • On hearing the communal alarm, you should immediately evacuate the building and not re-enter until you are told you can by the London Fire Brigade or the Council.
  • A fire alarm panel is located in the entrance area to the flats.
  • If at any stage there is a fault warning or beeping, please let the Council know immediately by calling 0800 137 111.
  • Do not interfere with fire detection and alarm system equipment or cover any detectors. This equipment is vital to the protection of all residents within the block.

Compartmentation

  • Your building has notional fire-resisting walls and floors around flats.
  • These, along with your flat entrance fire door, will contain a fire to the flat in which it starts for a period of time while you escape.
  • Do not allow anyone to create holes in your flat walls or floors and report any holes to the Council for repair.

Fire alarms within your flat

  • Your fire alarms are vital to keeping you safe if a fire occurs.
  • Your alarms will detect the present of heat or smoke and will sound loudly to let you know that you need to evacuate your flat.
  • The Council will provide a heat alarm in your kitchen and smoke alarms elsewhere.
  • You should test your flat’s alarms, using the ‘test’ button on each alarm, every month, to make sure it works, and report any problems to the Council.
  • You do not need to test the communal fire alarm or detectors because this will be done by the Council.

Fire doors within your flat

  • All doors within your flat will provide some level of protection against fire, even if they are not designated fire doors.
  • Close your doors at night, particularly your kitchen and living room doors — this will hold back a fire while you escape.
  • If a fire does occur, close all doors when you make your escape, if it is safe to do so.
  • Do not drill through your door or frame; this will affect its ability to contain fire and smoke.

Your flat entrance door (where this is required to be a fire door)

  • Your flat entrance door is critical to containing a fire and any smoke within your flat. It will help protect you and your family while you escape, and your neighbours and fire-fighters while the fire is extinguished.
  • It is critical that your flat entrance door has a self-closing device – please inform the Council as soon as possible if this is missing or does not work so that we can repair it.
  • If a fire occurs in your flat, make sure that when you escape, your flat entrance door is closed behind you.
  • You must not change your flat entrance door without first agreeing this with the Council*.

* The majority of flat entrance doors need to be fire doors to protect escape routes for other residents. However, where flat entrances are in open air, and no one has to pass within two metres of the door (because people can escape by a different route), it may not need to be a fire door.  Please email: firesafety@rbkc.gov.uk if you are unsure about your entrance door and we will be happy to help.

Fire doors in the common parts

  • Fire doors in the common parts protect staircases and other escape routes from smoke.
  • Do not wedge these doors open.
  • If the door becomes faulty, report it to the Council so that we can repair it.

Smoke ventilation

  • In many Council owned buildings, there are windows or openings that are designed to keep escape routes clear of smoke.
  • These can be used by fire-fighters during a fire to keep escape routes clear. 
  • Do not interfere with this equipment, it can be critical to keeping you, your family, your neighbours and fire-fighters safe. 

Escape routes and security gates

  • It is vitally important that everyone can escape quickly in the event of fire.
  • Do not install locks or security gates on any escape routes.
  • If your flat has a security gate installed, we strongly recommend that you remove it for the safety of you and your family.
  • If you choose not to remove a security gate, you should make sure that you leave it unlocked, particularly when you and your family are home, as it could lead to you becoming trapped in your home in case of fire.

Access and facilities for London Fire Brigade

  • It is vital that London Fire Brigade can quickly get to any fire in or around your block.
  • Do not block hydrants (which are coloured yellow).
  • Do not block dry riser outlets or inlets.
  • Do not block vehicle access routes.
  • Do not install security gates to your flat.
  • Information on extinguishers (if you choose to purchase one).
  • The Council do not provide fire extinguishers for use by residents. This is the general approach adopted across England and Wales.
  • Our view is that if there is a fire within your flat you should get out and call the London Fire Brigade.
  • However, if you choose to purchase an extinguisher for your flat we recommend that you consider the following:
    • Extinguishers require maintenance to ensure they remain effective — you should consider how often maintenance is needed and how you will carry that out. 

Planning for emergencies with your family

  • The best way to prepare yourself for a fire is to have a clear plan in your mind of what you will do if a fire does occur.
  • Think about who you will help first – will this be your children, or an elderly relative? What will you do about any pets?
  • Planning for your evacuation can make the process much quicker and safer should a fire occur.


Fire protection

For blocks with a localised evacuation procedure

Compartmentation

  • Your building is built using fire-resisting walls and floor around flats.
  • These, along with your flat entrance fire door, will contain a fire inside the flat in which it starts.
  • Do not allow anyone to create holes in your flat walls or floors and report any holes to the Council for repair.
  • Fire alarms inside your flat
  • Your fire alarms are vital to keeping you safe if a fire occurs.
  • Your alarms will detect the present of heat or smoke and will sound loudly to let you know that you need to evacuate your flat.
  • The Council will provide a heat alarm in your kitchen and smoke alarms elsewhere.
  • You should test your flat’s alarms, using the ‘test’ button on each alarm, every month, to make sure it works, and report any problems to the Council.

Fire doors within your flat

  • All doors within your flat will provide some level of protection against fire, even if they are not designated fire doors.
  • Close your doors at night, particularly your kitchen and living room doors — this will hold back a fire while you escape.
  • If a fire does occur, close all doors when you make your escape, if it is safe to do so.

Your flat entrance door (where this is required to be a fire door)

  • Your flat entrance door is critical to containing a fire and any smoke within your flat. It will help protect you and your family while you escape, and your neighbours and fire-fighters while the fire is extinguished.
  • It is critical that your flat entrance door has a self-closing device – please inform the Council as soon as possible if this is missing or does not work so that we can repair it.
  • If a fire occurs in your flat, make sure that when you escape, your flat entrance door is closed behind you.
  • Do not drill through your door or frame; this will affect its ability to contain fire and smoke.
  • You must not change your flat entrance door without first agreeing this with the Council*.

     

    * The majority of flat entrance doors need to be fire doors to protect escape routes for other residents. However, where flat entrances are in open air, and no one has to pass within two metres of the door (because people can escape by a different route), it may not need to be a fire door.  Please email: firesafety@rbkc.gov.uk if you are unsure about your entrance door and we will be happy to help.

Fire doors in the common parts

  • Fire doors in the common parts protect staircases and other escape routes from smoke.
  • Do not wedge these doors open.
  • If the door becomes faulty, report it to the Council so that we can repair it.

Smoke ventilation 

  • In many Council owned buildings, there are windows or openings that are designed to keep escape routes clear of smoke. 
  • These can be used by fire-fighters during a fire to keep escape routes clear. 
  • Do not interfere with this equipment, it can be critical to keeping you, your family, your neighbours and fire-fighters safe. 
  • Escape routes and security gates 
  • It is vitally important that everyone can escape quickly in the event of fire. 
  • Do not install locks or security gates on any escape routes. 
  • If your flat has a security gate installed, we strongly recommend that you remove it for the safety of you and your family. 
  • If you choose not to remove a security gate, you should make sure that you leave it unlocked, particularly when you and your family are home, as it could lead to you becoming trapped in your home in case of fire.  

Access and facilities for London Fire Brigade

  • It is vital that London Fire Brigade can quickly get to any fire in or around your block.
  • Do not block hydrants (which are coloured yellow).
  • Do not block dry riser outlets or inlets.
  • Do not block vehicle access routes.
  • Do not install security gates to your flat.

Information on extinguishers (if you choose to purchase one)

  • The Council do not provide fire extinguishers for use by residents. This is the general approach adopted across England and Wales.
  • Our view is that if there is a fire within your flat you should get out and call the London Fire Brigade.
  • However, if you choose to purchase an extinguisher for your flat we recommend that you consider the following: 
    • Extinguishers require maintenance to ensure they remain effective — you should consider how often maintenance is needed and how you will carry that out. 
    • What type of extinguisher is most appropriate — it may be best to get a multi-purpose extinguisher that can be used on all fires, including electrical equipment, such as water mist or certain types of foam. Investigate this before buying an extinguisher. 

Planning for emergencies with your family

  • The best way to prepare yourself for a fire is to have a clear plan in your mind of what you will do if a fire does occur.
  • Think about who you will help first – will this be your children, or an elderly relative? What will you do about any pets?
  • Planning for your evacuation can make the process much quicker and safer should a fire occur.


Information for Disabled People (all blocks)

The Council recognise that disabled people may be particularly vulnerable in the case of fire, and we are committed to helping to plan for the safety of all our residents.

Some residents may have difficulty in physically travelling to escape from a fire within their flat. Other residents may have hearing impairments that mean that they may not hear their alarms.

For anyone that needs help or support, the Council will arrange to:

  • Carry out a personal risk assessment, where we will discuss your needs with you and decide how best to help you keep safe from fire.
  • Provide you with a personal emergency evacuation plan. This is a plan for keeping you safe in an emergency. This will be either by allowing you to evacuate safely yourself with the aid of specific equipment or information, or by establishing a process whereby you receive assistance from London Fire Brigade.

We are here to help; please let us know if your condition changes and you need support. Speak to your Neighbourhood Co-ordinator or Visiting Officer.

To help us to help you, you can contact us:

By phone on 0800 137 1111
By email at HM-HealthandSafetyTeam@rbkc.gov.uk