Tower blocks and fire safety

Fire Safety

The best way to keep safe from fire is to understand common risks and reduce them in your home. You can read more about general fire safety advice and reassurance from the London Fire Brigade

Keep communal areas clear

  • Exit routes and communal areas should be kept clear at all times. If there is a fire or any other emergency, you will need to get out quickly and safely.
  • Please note RBK does not allow any items to be kept in the communal areas of buildings. 
  • All shared communal areas must be clear of any items including rubbish, storage and personal items. This is so that there is no risk of fire starting in the areas and so they do not create a blockage or hazard to the escape routes. 
  • If you see anyone dumping rubbish in communal areas, please tell us immediately by contacting us.

Fire Safety in your home

  • Test your smoke alarms monthly and only remove batteries when replacing them. Back up batteries to mains powered smoke and heat detectors should be replaced only by an electrician as there is a risk of touching live parts. Please contact RBK Housing Repairs as required when your smoke detector starts beeping.
  • Keep candles, lighters and matches out of children’s reach. Never leave burning candles unattended.

Cooking Safety

  • Most fires start in the kitchen. Avoid leaving a cooker unattended. Avoid cooking when under the influence of alcohol.
  • Stay alert and don’t get distracted whilst cooking. Most kitchen fires occur when people leave things unattended.
  • Don’t leave children alone in the kitchen.
  • Keep the oven, hob and grill clean. A build-up of fat and bits of food can start a fire.
  • Keep tea towels and cloths away from the cooker.
  • Keep electrical appliances and leads away from water.
  • Switch off all non-essential appliances at night.

Smoking Safety

  • It is safer to smoke outside.
  • Don’t leave a lit cigarette, cigar or pipe lying around. They can easily fall over and start a fire.
  • Stub cigarettes out properly, ensuring they are extinguished and use a proper ashtray.
  • Never smoke in bed.
  • Take extra care if you smoke when you’re tired, taking prescription drugs, or if you’ve been drinking. You might fall asleep and set your bed or sofa on fire.

Electrical fire is the top cause of accidental fire in UK homes, reduce the risk:

  • Switch off your electrical appliances when you’re not using them
  • Always follow the manufacturer guidance for electric items – this includes using correct bulbs for light fittings
  • Never use damaged plugs, cables or sockets. Make visual checks of your electrics and appliances to ensure they are in good working order. Learn more about what to look for here.
  • Overloading sockets can cause electrical fires. It is safest to use one plug in each socket and switch off your electrical appliances when you’re not using them.
  • Never use damaged plugs, cables or sockets (link to electrical safety content).
  • If you need an adaptor use a multi-socket extension lead it uncoiled to avoid overheating.
  • Do not overload the extension lead and use only good quality Kite-marked and CE marked adaptors from reputable sources.

Portable heaters

  • Electrical heaters can be a great way to keep warm – especially if you only want to warm up one room. However, they should be used with care. Fires caused by portable heaters do happen and have resulted in fatalities.
  • Don’t put anything on top of heaters. Never use it to dry your clothes.
  • Keep your heater away from bedding, curtains and furniture.
  • Never leave your heater unattended whilst in use or when you are asleep.
  • Never power a heater from an extension lead – they can easily be overloaded and cause fires.

Barbecues and outdoor cooking

  • To avoid injuries or damage to property, follow these simple precautions and the safety instructions provided with your BBQ for safe use.
  • Never use a BBQ indoors, on a balcony or roof terrace. Position your BBQ in a large outdoor space, away from anything that may catch fire (trees, fences, rubbish etc).
  • BBQs can easily get out of control and spread - keep a bucket of water, sand or garden hose nearby.
  • Never leave the BBQ unattended once lit  or whilst cooling and keep children, pets and garden games away from the cooking area.
  • Use enough charcoal to cover the base of the barbecue but not more (normally around 5cms or 2 inches).
  • After cooking, make sure the barbecue is cool before moving it.
  • Empty ashes onto bare garden soil, not in dustbins or wheelie bins. If they’re hot, they can melt the plastic and cause a fire. Never bring the embers indoors.
  • Never use petrol or paraffin to start or revive your barbecue; use only recognized lighters or starter fuels on cold coals.
  • Never store gas cylinders under the stairs – if there is a fire they might explode and block your escape route.
  • Store gas barbecues and cylinders outside, ensuring they are not blocking access routes and paths, ideally in a locked shed away from direct sunlight and frost.
  • Take care when turning bottled gas barbecues on and off. Change gas cylinders outdoors or in a well ventilated area and make sure the tap is turned off before changing the gas cylinder.