The building in which you live has been designed with safety in mind, but taking a few extra minutes to think about fire safety is time well spent. Careful planning can keep you and your household safe.
Knowing how to reduce the risk of fire, and what to do in the case of fire, will help keep you safe.
If you live in a purpose-built block of flats
It's often safer to stay where you are if the fire isn’t in your flat and your flat isn’t affected by smoke. Call 999 and let the Fire Brigade know where you are. If possible wait by a window.
If the fire is in your flat, take the normal way out but don’t use the lift. Close doors behind you so that smoke can’t fill the escape route and call 999 as soon as its safe to do so.
If you live in a house, bungalow or a flat within a converted older building?
Get out, stay out and call 999.
If you are worried about fire safety or would like more advice, please contact your local fire service. They will arrange a free home visit:
- Essex Fire Service: https://www.essex-fire.gov.uk/Home_Fire_Safety/
- London Fire Brigade: https://www.london-fire.gov.uk/safety/the-home/home-fire-safety-visits/
Make sure your smoke alarms work by testing them regularly. Each property should have:
- A working smoke alarm on each floor
- A carbon monoxide detector in any room with a solid fuel appliance
If your alarm is missing or not working, please call Axis, our repairs contractor, for assistance - 0808 169 1969
- Please do not leave any rubbish or bulky items outside your flat
- Please dispose of all rubbish using the rubbish chutes or bin areas
- If you have difficulty in removing items please contact your housing officer
- If you know of any person leaving rubbish out please notify your housing officer
- Report any fly tipping
- Do not remove internal doors inside your property
- If you witness any person causing damage to communal doors and windows please report this immediately to the Police and our Repairs Team
- Never prop or wedge open any doors in the communal areas or any self closing door in your home.
If you have any information relating to perpetrators who endanger the lives of you and your neighbours through their irresponsible actions, please contact the Housing Team on 0300 304 5000
Estuary Housing Association will take action against any person who:
- Deliberately leaves rubbish and bulky items outside their homes
- Does not dispose of their rubbish in the appropriate locations
- Is found guilty of endangering the lives of residents through deliberate actions that may cause damage.
If you have any concerns about fire safety, or would like to know more, please contact us on 0300 304 5000.
Planning Escape Routes
Plan what you would do with everyone in your home in case of fire
- Always include children, the elderly and disabled people in your plan
- Make sure everyone knows where to find door and window keys
- If you have a battery smoke detector in your property, please test it regularly, and change the battery when needed. If your smoke detector is wired into the main electrical system, and has a battery back up, we still recommend that you test it regularly to ensure it's working. These types of detectors usually have a label on it which gives an estimated life span of the battery. The labels are normally changed when our repairs contractor, Axis, replace the battery. However, on the odd occasion the operative may forget to do this, or the label may fall off. If you notice your label shows an old date, or you have any concerns about the detector, please call our repairs line on 0300 304 5000 who will be happy to help
- Choose an escape route - avoid balconies, plan how you would get out of your own property and escape from your floor
- Make sure everyone knows where the stairs are. It is easy to get confused in the dark, so count how many doors you need to go through.
Keep Your Escape Routes Clear
- Check there are no boxes, rubbish or anything which can catch fire easily or hinder your escape in corridors or stairways
- Keep the communal areas clear of any obstacles - plants, bikes, pushchairs, furniture etc.
If Escape Routes Are Blocked
- If the fire is in your property and you can’t get out, get everyone into a room with a window that opens. Put cushions and bedding round the bottom of the door to block smoke
- Open the window to attract help
- If the fire is outside your property, seal your front door from smoke with tape or bedding and close any ventilators. Phone 999 giving them full details of your address, including any flat number
- If you would like help or advice on fire safety, please call your local Fire Service and ask for a Home Fire Safety Check.
Fire Safety Update
We would like to assure you that your safety is our priority, and we are working to implement all new recommendations as they are issued.
What are we doing?
- We are continuing to check all our blocks and ensuring that the appropriate levels of fire protection are installed. Any issues identified are being dealt with promptly
- We have a fire door assessment programme underway for all blocks. This includes, where needed, improving and/or replacing communal and flat entrance doors
- All our blocks of flats have an up to date fire risk assessment. This is reviewed on a regular basis, and all blocks are also subject to further safety inspections at a minimum frequency of monthly
- All blocks have passive fire safety systems installed, such as automatic smoke vents and emergency lighting; these are serviced and maintained in line with the regulatory requirements. None of our blocks have sprinkler systems installed; this is because they are not required unless the block is over 30m in height and newly built
- Each block has signage displayed which explains what to do in the event of a fire and directional signage to assist in evacuating. If any signs are missing, or you are unsure what to do in the event of a fire, please contact us
- Our teams are working closely to identify and support any residents who may need assistance with evacuating their property, or any other safety issue.
You can help to stay safe by:
- Keeping your balconies clear of anything which could fuel a fire, for example bamboo screening
- Do not have barbecues or fireworks on your balcony
- Keeping communal areas clear of items including prams and bikes. In the event of a fire, you will need to use these routes to leave the building, and items left in the corridors and stairwells could prevent you from safe evacuation
- Plan your escape route
- Test your smoke alarm weekly; if the alarm is not working, please contact us
- Make sure your front door is in good condition, has a door closer fitted, and that it is closing properly. Please contact us if the door is damaged, the smoke seals are missing, the closer is defective or missing, or the door is not fully closing into the frame
- If you notice anything that could affect the safety of yourself, your family or your neighbours please contact us urgently.
If you have any concerns, or would just like to discuss this further, please contact us on 0300 304 5000.
Barbecues, Bonfires and Fireworks
Having a BBQ this Summer?
If you’re having a barbecue:
- Never use a barbecue indoors or on a balcony
- Never leave the barbecue alone
- Make sure your barbecue is away at least 3 meters (about 9-10 feet) from any buildings, sheds, or fences and on a non-flammable surface, like a flat concrete base
- Keep children away from the barbecue
- Keep a bucket of water or sand nearby in case the fire gets out of control
- Please don’t store gas cylinders or charcoal indoors. The risk is just too great
- Think about your neighbours and make sure the barbecue isn’t going to cause a problem for them. Even better, maybe ask them to join you!
- Make sure the barbecue has cooled before clearing away. This could take a few hours
- Please leave communal areas clean and tidy.
If you have any questions about our barbecue policy or you’d like to have a barbecue in a communal garden, please contact your Housing Officer who will be able to give you some advice.
Of course, we want everyone to have fun, there may be times where we just can't allow barbecues in some places. This could be because the communal garden is too small or complaints of antisocial behaviour and/or unsafe behaviour have been made.
Essex Fire Service has provided some advice on safe barbecuing.
Be Carbon Monoxide Aware
Never use fuel-burning devices (e.g., disposable barbeques, camping stoves, camping heaters, lanterns, and charcoal grills) inside a tent. They give off fumes for hours and hours after you have used them - levels high enough to result in CO poisoning.
To avoid hazardous CO exposures, fuel-burning equipment should never be used inside a tent, camper, or other enclosed shelter.
It is not illegal to have a bonfire, however we do advise our residents to use other ways of disposing of garden and domestic waste, such as composting and recycling. If you do decide to have a bonfire, please ensure the following:
- Bonfires are not permitted in communal areas and gardens;
- Limit the smoke by burning only dry material;
- Never burn household rubbish or rubber tyres, or use oil to light the fire;
- Never light a fire in unsuitable weather conditions - smoke hangs in the air on damp still days and in the evening;
- Never burn when the wind will carry the smoke over the roads or other people's property;
- Avoid burning at weekends and on Bank Holidays when people want to enjoy their gardens;
- Never leave a fire unattended or leave it to smoulder - douse it with water if necessary.
Fireworks are not permitted in communal areas and gardens, or on balconies.