Gas, fire and electrical safety in council homes

Fire safety

Everyone you live with must know what to do if a fire breaks out, so you can all escape as quickly and safely as possible.

To help stop a fire from starting, you should:

  • make sure passages and stairways are clear of things like rubbish bags, prams and bikes
  • switch off electrical equipment when you're not using it, and make sure plug sockets aren't overloaded
  • make sure any candles, cigarettes or other open flames are never left unattended and always put out
  • keep matches out of the reach of children
  • use a fireguard if you have an open fire
  • never leave cooking pans unattended
  • dry your clothes safely - do not use heaters
  • store any petrol cans in a garage or somewhere else outside
  • not block communal areas or fire escapes
  • never disconnect your smoke alarm

High-rise accommodation and independent living schemes

It is important to remember that fires in these types of buildings are rare, and that most fires do not spread further than one or two rooms. High-rise buildings are designed to contain and prevent a fire from spreading.

Make sure you know the fire safety procedures and evacuation plans for your specific property as the layout and safety plans might be different.

if a fire breaks out you should:

  • close all the doors to your flat behind you to help stop it spreading
  • leave using the stairs - never try and use the lift or a balcony (unless the balcony is part of the official escape route)
  • if you have to move through smoke, keep as low to the ground as possible, as the air is cleaner
  • call 999 when you are out of the building

Don't stop to take personal belongings, and don't go back into the building unless you've been told it's safe to.

Free fire safety checks

Kent Fire and Rescue offer free fire safety checks if you meet certain criteria. To find out more and arrange a visit, email home@kent.fire-uk.org or call 0800 923 7000.

Test your smoke alarm

Follow these simple checks to test your smoke alarm every week:

  • press the test button until the alarm sounds
  • if it doesn’t sound, try cleaning it and test again
  • if it still doesn’t sound, you need to change the battery
  • to change the battery; open the alarm cover and unclip it, clip the new battery into place the same way round, close and the cover and test it again - if it’s still not working, you need to replace the alarm
  • if your smoke alarm starts to beep regularly, you need to change the battery straight away

Smoke alarms for people with hearing problems

If you have hearing problems, you can get strobe light or vibrating-pad smoke alarms. To find out how to get one, email Action on Hearing Losschat to them online or call 0808 808 0123.