How to keep your flat safe

Staying safe in your flat

The best way to stay safe is by taking steps to prevent a fire happening in your home. Most fires in people’s homes are caused by cooking, smoking or electrical items – by taking some simple steps you can reduce the risk of a fire starting – this protects you, your family and your home.

How to prevent a fire:

  • Keep tea towels and clothes away from the cooker and hob.
  • Keep matches, lighters and candles out of reach of children.
  • Unplug appliances when you’re not using them, they are fully charged, or when you go to bed.
  • Always use candle holders and keep candles out of draughts and away from curtains and other materials that can catch fire.
  • Always put cigarettes out properly in an ashtray and never smoke in bed.
  • Never leave cooking unattended.
  • Never overload plug sockets or extension leads.
  • Never leave appliances on when sleeping or when you go out – this includes washing machines, dryers and dishwashers.
  • Never leave candles unattended.
  • Never leave e-bikes or scooters in your hall and never charge them overnight or when you are out.

If you are concerned about your fire safety, or the fire safety of others, please complete our online assessment (internal webpage) for personalised advice or to find out if you are eligible for a Home Fire Safety Assessment

Read more home fire safety advice (internal webpage)

Smoke alarms

All homes should have at least one smoke detector. If your flat is on more than one level you should have a smoke detector on each floor.

If you rent your home your landlord must provide a smoke alarm in your home.

You should test your smoke alarm at least monthly, by pressing the button until it beeps. It is a good idea to set a reminder on your phone or a smart speaker if you have one.

If you press the button and there is no sound, you may need to change the batteries or the smoke alarm may need replacing.

If your smoke alarm goes off by mistake, do not take out the batteries. Just wait for it to stop. Many alarms have a hush button that can be pressed to temporarily silence an alarm.

Smoke alarms usually need replacing after ten years. If any of your smoke alarms have a one-year battery, you must change them every year. Only take out the battery when you need to replace it.

If you hear a neighbour’s smoke alarm, don’t ignore it but alert the resident. If they don’t respond, call 999 and ask for ‘Fire’.

Visit our smoke and heat alarms webpage for more information