Fire safety for council tenants

Fire safety for council tenants

How to prevent a fire in your home and what to do if there’s a fire in your home or block

Fire and smoke can spread quickly and both can be deadly. It’s important that you know how to prevent fires and what to do if there’s a fire in your home.  

  If there's a fire in your home or you see a fire in someone else’s home call 999 as soon as possible. Don’t try to put the fire out, leave that to the fire brigade.

Preventing fires

Most fires can be prevented if you:

  • test your smoke alarm weekly if it’s battery powered
  • check your home and make sure it’s safe, especially the kitchen as this is where two thirds of fires happen: avoid overloading sockets and report any broken switches, sockets, light fittings or exposed wiring to us
  • don’t use or store propane gas bottles, paraffin, petrol or other flammable liquids
  • close all internal doors when you go to bed
  • turn off any electrical items that aren’t designed to be left on for a long time such as electric blankets, hair straighteners or toasters
  • stub cigarettes out properly and dispose of them carefully 
  • keep matches and lighters away from children
  • never leave cookers unattended if they’re being used, especially if you’re using hot oil
  • be careful with candles: put them out when you leave the room, and make sure they’re put out completely at night
  • don’t dry or air clothes near heaters, cookers or open fires

Call Avon Fire and Rescue on 0800 1693 999 for advice about staying safe in your home and for a free home fire safety visit

If you live in a block of flats you should:

  • never wedge fire doors open
  • take rubbish to the correct place 
  • never leave flammable material  in communal areas 
  • not smoke in communal areas, including landings, lifts, foyers, stairwells, walkways, community rooms and storage cage  areas
  • keep communal areas and walkways clear of obstacles such as prams, bikes or scooters: this is the quickest way out of the building when there’s a fire

Smoke alarms

Smoke alarms save lives. All our properties should be fitted with smoke detectors, one on each level.

You need to test  and replace the batteries of your smoke alarm when needed. 

Call 0117 922 2200 or visit our Citizen Services Point if you:

  • don’t have a smoke detector in your home
  • can’t test your smoke detector yourself
  • can’t replace the battery yourself
  • have concerns about your smoke detector

How to use and look after a smoke alarm (pdf, 481KB) (opens new window)

Keep stairs and corridors free

If you live in a block of flats the stairs and corridors are important escape routes so they must be kept free. Only small items such as flower pots or decorations can be left in them.

Some items such as non-slip door mats are considered low risk, so they’re usually allowed. High risk items such as motorbikes will need to be removed immediately.   

Every block has its own guidelines on what can and can’t be left in corridors. You can find the guidelines in the main foyer.

Mobility scooters

You must not leave a mobility scooter in communal areas such as landings, foyers, stairwells, walkways and community rooms.

Some blocks of flats have mobility scooter storage that you can use. 

Report a fire concern

If you think there’s a fire safety related repair needed you should report a repair online

This can include repairs to:

  • damaged internal doors
  • smoke detectors
  • light switches and fittings
  • plug sockets 

We’ll repair these urgently.

If there’s a fire in your block of flats

If you live in a block of flats and a fire starts that isn’t in your home, get out if you feel unsafe or you can smell smoke. 

If you don’t feel unsafe you should stay where you are unless you’re told to move by the Fire Service. 

You may be safer staying where you are because:

  • there’s fire protection around each flat 
  • you’ll be protected from smoke and fire until the Fire Service get to you

It’s very rare for fires to spread from one flat to another but people have died going into smoke filled corridors. 

This is still our policy, supported by the Fire Service and Avon Fire and Rescue (AFRS). We’re always checking any reviews as part of the inquiry into the Grenfell fire. 

Avon Fire and Rescue high rise fire safety advice