Fire can cause serious injury and even death, as well as damage to your home and your possessions.
Fire safety checks
To keep you safe, we regularly check the operation of all gas and electrical systems and offer special services for vulnerable tenants including support for addressing hoarding issues and helping to arrange a home fire safety visit from Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service.
A good quality British Standard smoke alarm could save your life. In fact, you’re twice as likely to die in a fire at home if you haven’t got one. As a Southway tenant, you get a FREE service and safety check of your smoke alarms every year. The Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service also offer a FREE ‘home fire risk assessment’ service which includes the testing of your smoke alarm, or if you don’t have one, a FREE fitting.
If you decide to buy your own smoke alarm, ensure it’s compliant with British Standard regulations. You should fit it between living areas and bedrooms, following the manufacturer’s fitting instructions, and make sure you can hear it throughout your home. In terms of maintenance, you should test it weekly, change the battery every year, and make sure it’s free of dust.
We regularly inspect and carry out fire risk assessments in blocks with communal areas. This includes checking the safety of fire alarms, and replacing them when necessary, and checking all gas, electrical and fire safety systems as well as flat entrance doors.
There are many things you can do to reduce the risk of fire in your home and to protect yourself if the worst happens:
- Check your smoke alarm every week. Press the button on the cover, and it should make a sound. If it isn’t working, please give us a call.
- Check your home before you go to bed. Make sure you have turned off your oven and cooker and extinguished cigarettes, candles etc. if you use them.
- Keep your home tidy and dispose of flammable items such as newspapers.
- Keep your internal doors closed, especially at night, to stop the spread of smoke and fire.
- Make sure you know what to do and where to go if a smoke alarm goes off during the night.
- Plan your escape route and make sure routes are clear and free from obstacles.
What to do in the event of a fire
If you discover a fire in your Southway house you should:
- Sound the alarm.
- Call 999 and ask for the fire brigade.
- Leave the building by the nearest exit and never try to tackle the fire yourself or go back into the burning building.
If you discover a fire in your Southway apartment block, sheltered, or Age Friendly scheme please be advised that the walls, doors and floors have been specially designed to stop fire and smoke spreading. However, to ensure you stay as safe as possible, we recommend you:
- Please take the time to read the Fire Action Notice and map for your building, which will be displayed near the main entrance. This will tell you where the Fire Assembly Point is if a fire breaks out and you need to evacuate your home.
- Keep your doors closed to stop the spread of smoke and fire.
- If you discover a fire in your home, call 999 and ask for the Fire Service.
- Leave the building by the nearest fire exit route.
- Go to the Fire Assembly Point outside your building. If you’re inside your apartment and you suspect a fire has started somewhere in the building, a Stay Put Procedure applies:
- If you’re in your apartment, stay put until the Fire Service tells you to leave, you feel unsafe, or your home is affected by heat or smoke.
- Shut all your doors and windows.
- Call 999 to report the fire to the Fire Service. If you require further advice, please contact your scheme manager, or give us a call. A copy of Southway’s Fire Safety Policy is available on our website.
Fire safety precautions
Over half of all accidental fires in the home start in the kitchen – and nearly all of these involve the cooker. To reduce the risk of fire in your kitchen you should never hang tea towels on the cooker, leave the cooker unsupervised when on, leave it on when not in use, keep electrical leads from other appliances, like kettles or toasters, near it, let fat and grease build up on it, especially in the grill pan, or leave children in the kitchen unsupervised.
Chip pan fires cause more fire-related injuries in the home than anything else. They often start when the fat overheats or spills onto the cooker. To avoid this, make sure you never fill the pan more than one third full of fat or oil, or leave it alone when heated - not even for a second. You should also dry the chips before putting them in the pan and don’t put them in at all if the oil starts smoking; you’ll need to turn the heat off to let it cool down.
If your chip pan catches fire - don’t panic. Don’t move the pan but do turn the heat off if you can do so without reaching over the pan. Don’t try to put the fire out by throwing water at it of using a fire extinguisher. If you can, drape a damp cloth or towel, or something like a heavy bread board or tray over the pan to smother the flames and leave the pan to cool down for at least half an hour.
If you can’t control the fire yourself, close the kitchen door, get everyone out of the house, dial 999 and don’t go back inside until the Fire Service tells you it’s safe to do so.
Cigarettes, lighters and matches are the biggest killers in accidental fires in the home. Every three days, someone in the UK dies because of a cigarette fire. To reduce the risk of fire from smoking, make sure you keep matches and lighters away from children, never smoke in bed or leave a lit cigarette unattended, and always use a sturdy ashtray. Take extra care when you’re tired or when you’ve been drinking.
Candles have exposed flames which can cause a fire if you are not careful. To reduce the risk of fire when using candles, place them on a flat, stable, and heat resistant surface and use a proper candleholder in which the candle fits firmly inside of. You should never put candles on polished surfaces like televisions. Make sure you leave plenty of space above and around the flame and keep candles away from draughts, curtains, furniture and materials. Be sure to keep candles out of the reach of children and pets and when extinguishing them, use a metal spoon to do so and let the candle cool down before moving it.
Electrics and wiring
To prevent electrical equipment starting fires in your home, turn off and unplug all electrical appliances (except those that are meant to be permanently switched on, such as fridges) at night or if you’re going away. Make sure your electrical appliances have the right fuse (3amp for equipment up to 720 watts and 13amp for equipment over 720 watts), avoid using multi-way adaptors, and don’t run extension leads or cables under carpets. Look out for warning signs of dangerous wiring, such as hot plugs and sockets, fuses that blow for no obvious reason, lights that flicker, and brown scorch marks on sockets and plugs. If you see any of these signs, get in touch with us as soon as possible.
You can find out more information on fire safety by visiting the Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service website. If you require further advice, please calls us on 0161 448 4200.