Fire safety on estates

Most accidents happen in the home. By taking a few sensible precautions, you can reduce the risk of fire in your home. 

How to reduce the risk of fire in your home 

In your block

Keep escape routes clear. Don't leave large items such as furniture, prams or bikes in communal areas, shared balconies or corridors.

Don't wedge self-closing doors open. These doors are normally fire-resistant. They help to stop fire and smoke spreading, but only when they are closed.

In your home

  • Do not leave candles unattended - make sure they are in an appropriate candle holder and don't place them near curtains.
  • Before emptying ashtrays make sure the contents are cold.
  • Always keep open fires, electric, gas or portable heaters guarded.
  • Don't smoke in a chair if you think you might fall asleep and never smoke in bed.
  • Keep doors closed in your flat when you go to bed - if a fire does start, this will help it stop spreading.
  • Unplug any electrical appliances you're not using - especially at night.
  • Don't leave cooking unattended - especially when your cooking with hot oil or fat.
  • Avoid the use of paraffin heaters - if you have one make sure it meets the British Safety Regulation BS3300 and that it has a British Standard Institute kitemark.

In your balcony

If you have a balcony in your home, please ensure that:   

  • You do not use a BBQ on the balcony
  • Combustibles and flammable liquids e.g. gas cylinders, kerosene and fuel are not stored on balconies
  • Everyone in your household knows where the nearest fire exits are located
  • Everyone in your household knows the fire escape plan for your building (This should be on display in one of the communal areas.)
  • If you notice anything that may be a fire risk, it is reported to 020 8489 5611
  • You call 999 in the event of an emergency

Hazardous materials

Don't store gas, petrol or bottled gas or any flammable materials at home, in the block or garage. They can easily catch fire and can be very dangerous.

Smoke alarms

Having smoke alarms fitted in your home can help save your home and the lives of you and your family. Smoke alarms can detect a fire via a smoke detector and alert you early giving you time to enable you and your family to leave the house in safety. You can buy them in most hardware shops or major supermarkets. Don't just fit a smoke alarm in your hall and landing – also fit them in any room such as the kitchen and bedrooms where a fire can start. For example, any room where you smoke or leave appliances plugged in. Make sure you test them every month to ensure they don't run out of battery.

Fire brigade home fire safety visits

London Fire Brigade offers free home fire safety visits giving personal fire safety advice and fitting free smoke alarms. Contact them for a free visit:

What to do if there is a fire

If there is a fire in your flat:

  • Alert others in your flat to get out if possible.
  • Get out of the building.
  • Close doors behind you.
  • Don't use lifts. Use stairs.
  • Call 999 and ask for the fire brigade.

If you're trapped in your flat:

  • Block gaps around doors with wet towels.
  • Stay in one room near a window and with a phone.
  • Call 999 and ask for the fire brigade.
  • Give your address and flat number and follow instructions.

If there's a fire elsewhere in the building:

  • Stay in your flat. This is usually safer unless heat or smoke is affecting you. Flats and maisonettes are built to protect you from fire to some extent. Walls, floors and doors can hold back flames and smoke for a while.
  • Stay near a window and listen to instructions from the emergency services.

If there's a lot of smoke:

  • Keep close to the floor where the air will be clearer

Remember the following:

  • Closing doors slows down the spread of the fire and reduces the main danger - smoke.
  • Keep escape routes clear - don't keep large items such as furniture on shared balconies and landings.
  • Don't wedge self-closing doors open. These doors are normally fire-resistant. They help to stop fire and smoke spreading, but only when they are closed. If any of the self-closing doors are not working properly, please report it to us on 020 8489 5611.
  • Before you go to bed or go out, close as many doors in your flat as you can. If a fire does start, this will help to stop it spreading.
  • You should unplug all electrical appliances when you are not using them, especially overnight.

Read more about fire risk assessments

Further information

Page last updated:

July 5, 2022