Building Safety

Fire Safety


Maintaining the safety of our residents and the buildings you live in is our top priority.

You can request a copy of your fire risk assessment by completing our form.

What we're doing to keep you safe

  • We have a dedicated building safety team who work closely with qualified experts and the Kent Fire and Rescue Service.
  • We are committed to implementing the recommendations from Dame Judith Hackitt’s review of building safety.
  • We follow all relevant government guidelines relating to fire safety and fire risk assessments (FRAs), including the Fire Safety Act 2021, which states that FRAs include external walls of all residential buildings, irrespective of height.
  • We deliver an ongoing rolling programme of regular FRAs on the buildings we manage (for those 18m and higher we do this every year) and make sure that any actions raised are resolved by the given deadline.
  • We install and maintain smoke and heat detectors in the homes we rent (if you own your home you are responsible for doing this).
  • Fire doors help stop the spread of fire or smoke and we check them regularly in the buildings we manage.
  • We take action if we find items or belongings being stored in any communal areas or cupboards. If any items are flammable, we may remove them immediately.

How you can help

If you have any concerns or need to raise fire safety repairs in our buildings please contact us.

Safety is everyone’s responsibility and you also have a crucial part to play. It's important that you and the people you live with know what to do if a fire occurs and also how to reduce the risk of fire in and around your home. Please read the advice and recommendations below carefully.

Keeping safe inside your home:

Alarms and detectors

  • There are two types of alarm/detectors that you can find in your home: smoke detectors and heat detectors (heat detectors are usually found in your kitchen). There should be one detector on every level of your home.
  • We’re responsible for installing detectors inside the homes we rent but you need to check that they’re working regularly – the Fire Brigade recommends you check them at least once a month. To do that, simply push the test button to see if it is working. If it’s on the ceiling, try using a broom handle.
  • If your detector starts beeping this means the battery is low. Please don’t remove the battery until you’re ready to replace it with a new one immediately and never cover the detector to silence the beeping.

Here are some useful tips for what you should and shouldn’t do with your smoke detector:


  • Clean dust away from the smoke detector with a vacuum cleaner or clean cloth, each time you test it
  • Replace the battery regularly - your smoke alarm will beep intermittently to warn you when the battery is running low. But don’t wait for that sound and replace the battery once a year
  • If you think your detector might be faulty, report it to us on 01892 501480
  • If you own your home, you should replace your smoke alarm every 10 years as they get clogged up with dust and dirt over time. If you rent your home from us, we’re responsible for doing this.

Do not:

  • Use cleaning sprays on or around your smoke detector as they could stop it working properly.
  • Remove the battery from your smoke alarm to use in another item, such as a toy or remote control as it’s likely that you’ll forget to replace it, and put yourself and others in danger.

Want to find out more? Check out the Kent Fire and Rescue Service.


Having access to a private outside space is such a bonus, especially when the weather’s nice. If you have a balcony, please remember that it’s part of a block and what you do or keep on it affects your neighbours. Here is some advice that you should follow to keep you and your neighbours safe:

  • storing combustible items, such as furniture or white goods, isn’t allowed
  • BBQs are not permitted on balconies – they must only be used outside, well away from buildings
  • smoking on balconies can be very dangerous - if you do smoke, you must put your cigarette out and dispose of it in an ashtray, and never throw it over the side
  • screens or fencing made of bamboo or any other type of combustible material aren’t permitted


Nothing beats al fresco eating – and who doesn’t love a BBQ! To make sure you keep yourselves and your neighbours safe, please follow these top BBQ tips:

  1. BBQs on balconies are a major fire risk and therefore not allowed. You must only use them outside your home.
  2. Position your BBQ on level ground, well away from trees, fences, sheds or other structures.
  3. Use firelighters to get your BBQ going – never use petrol, paraffin or any flammable liquids.
  4. Keep a close eye on children (little ones can all too easily trip and fall, while older children might hurt themselves trying to help), and also pets, which can get under your feet and cause accidents.
  5. If you’re cooking, keep alcohol drinks to a minimum – or ideally keep off alcohol altogether.

Did you know?
BBQs can stay hot for hours, so be really careful moving them. They also give off carbon monoxide fumes for several hours after they go out, so don't bring them indoors with you.


Lithium batteries are used on e-scooters and e-bikes and they’re one of the fastest growing causes of fires. If a fire starts, it spreads very quickly and it can be extremely difficult to escape from, which is why you must never block any exits with charging batteries, e-scooters or e-bikes. Please follow the link below to more advice on how to use and charge lithium batteries safely on the Kent Fire and Rescue  website:

Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide (CO) is known as a silent killer because you can’t taste, see or smell it yet the fumes are highly poisonous and cause around 50 deaths and hundreds of injuries every year.

Poisoning from CO can happen in a matter of minutes or over an extended period of time – it depends on the amount of CO in the air. The symptoms include:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Breathlessness
  • Collapsing
  • Losing consciousness

Here are some of the warning signs to look out for:

  • Symptoms only occur when you’re in your home and disappear or get better when you leave
  • Others in your home are experiencing similar symptoms (including your pets)
  • Black, sooty marks on the front covers of gas fires
  • Sooty or yellow/brown stains on or around boilers, stoves or fires
  • If you get any symptoms when appliances are in use, e.g. when the boiler is on
  • Increased condensation on the windows
  • Pilot lights frequently blowing out
  • Yellow instead of blue flames coming from gas appliances or the flames aren’t fully formed (e.g. if the flame isn’t all the way round on a gas hob burner).

What to do if you suspect CO poisoning:

  • Open doors and windows to ventilate and let fresh air in
  • If it’s safe to do so, switch the gas appliance off
  • Get outside into the fresh air as quickly as you can
  • Get medical advice – e.g. contact your GP or go to hospital and tell them you suspect CO poisoning
  • Before you return to your home it is very important to call the gas emergency number on 0800 111 999 and tell them what has happened
  • Let us know too by calling our Customer Services team on 01892 501480.

You can find more information about CO on the Health and Safety Executive website.

If you have gas in your home, you need to have a CO detector installed. If you do not have one please contact us. Further information here - Are Social Landlords Responsible for Carbon Monoxide Detectors? (

Electrical Equipment

Faulty electrical goods can cause fires. If you’re concerned about the safety of a product, stop using it and raise your concern with the retailer, manufacturer or your local Trading Standards office.

The London Fire Brigade has a list of recalled faulty products on its website.

  • Make sure all electrical appliances have a British or European safety mark when you buy them
  • Keep electrical appliances clean and in good working order
  • If you have a tumble dryer, empty fluff regularly in line with the manufacturer’s instructions. You should also occasionally clean the extractor using a brush or gentle vacuuming.
  • Hair straighteners get extremely hot so always switch them off and leave them to cool on a heatproof surface
  • Keep to one plug per socket. High powered appliances such as washing machines, should have a single socket to themselves
  • Always check that you’re using the right fuse: typical examples include: 3A fuse – Table lamp, television, computer, blender, fridge, freezer. 13A fuse – Washing machine, dishwasher, microwave, kettle, toaster, iron
  • If you have to use an adaptor, use a fused ‘in line’ type but don’t overload it by adding extra plug-in adaptors or using high current appliances such as electric heaters.

Want to find out more about electrical safety? Check out the Kent Fire and Rescue website.

Escape Routes: make sure you have a plan

Make an escape plan and make sure everyone knows how to get out safely.

  • Your best route is the way you normally go in and out of your home. However, there are likely to be several different ways you can get out in an emergency, so make sure you’re familiar with all the alternatives in case your first option is affected or not safe to use.
  • Remember that when you leave your flat, some of the smoke may follow you into the corridor. As stairways have fire doors and are usually enclosed and ventilated, aim to get to the nearest one as quickly as you can.
  • If any doors or windows that form part of your escape route are lockable, keep keys nearby (whilst keeping security in mind) and make sure everyone knows where they are. A torch is also useful in case you need to get out at night.
  • Make sure all parts of your route are kept clear of obstructions at all times and don’t store items such as pushchairs, bikes or shoes as they are trip hazards.
  • Most fire and rescue services offer free home visits and can provide advice and recommendations on escape routes. You can search for a particular fire and rescue service, in order to find their phone number and contact information to reach them.
  • Practise walking the entire escape route regularly.
  • Let us know if any part of your escape route is blocked or not accessible.

Evacuate, evacuation alert, and stay put strategies

If you live in a purpose-built block the strategy in case of a fire will be either to evacuate or stay put.

Find out what each of these mean and what you should do in the unlikely event of a fire:

If you’re not sure what the strategy is for your building, you will find it on the Fire Action Notice on your block notice-board. If in doubt, please contact us.

Festive fire safety

If you opt for a live tree, remember that they can dry out and become a fire hazard, so make sure you:

  • Keep it well-watered
  • Place it away from heat sources
  • Dispose of it after the festive period (check your council website to find out their tree collection dates)

Fairy lights

  • Turn all the lights off before you go to bed and whenever you go out
  • Be careful not to overload sockets with lots of plugs from multiple strings of lights
  • Don’t let the bulbs touch anything that can easily burn

Candles and tea lights

  • Put your candles or tea lights in snug-fitting holders on heat resistant surfaces
  • Make sure all candles are completely extinguished before you go to bed or if you go out
  • Place them away from curtains and out of any draughts
  • Make sure there’s more than a metre between your candles or tea lights and any surface above
  • Keep well out of reach of children and pets.

Paper chains and other decorations

  • Make sure you keep any decorations well away from heaters, lights, candles and fireplaces.

Fire Action Notice

All of our buildings must, by law, display a Fire Action Notice to explain to residents and visitors what they need to do in the unlikely event of a fire. Below is a typical example of a Fire Action Notice.

A4 Fire Action Sticker

They’re located in the entrance of each building, usually on a communal notice board. Please make sure you take a look at the Notice for your building. The information they provide includes details of whether the strategy for your building is to evacuate or stay put.


Public displays are the safest way to enjoy fireworks and your council website will have details of any events in your area. If you want to let off fireworks at home, whether it's for Diwali, Bonfire Night, or New Year's Eve, please follow these top tips:

  • Before you start, read the Fireworks Code
  • Never set off fireworks or start fires anywhere near your property, including in the garden or on balconies
  • Only buy fireworks which carry the CE mark, keep them in a closed box and use them one at a time
  • Read and follow the instructions on each firework using a torch if necessary
  • Light the firework at arm's length with a taper and stand well back
  • Keep naked flames, including cigarettes, away from fireworks
  • Never return to a firework once it has been lit
  • Don't put fireworks in pockets and never throw them
  • Direct any rocket fireworks well away from spectators
  • Keep pets indoors; many are scared by the loud noises
  • Remind yourself of the fire and safety regulations for your building
  • In an emergency, phone 999 and ask for the fire service.

Flat front doors

  • Building Regulations state that the front door to a flat must be fire and smoke resistant. The minimum requirement is FD30S (FD = fire door, 30 = it provides 30 minutes fire and smoke resistance, and S = the door is also smoke sealed)
  • They have self-closers which mean they automatically close behind you. This is really important if a fire were to break out as they hold the flames back and stop the fire and toxic smoke getting out into communal areas, escape routes and other flats in the block.
  • Under the Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022, we need to check all flat front doors and self-closers every year, whether you rent your home from us or are a shared owner or leaseholder.
  • We’ll contact you to arrange a time that’s convenient for you. It won’t take long – just a few minutes - so please do make sure you give us access as properly functioning flat front doors play a vital role in keeping everyone safe in your building.
  • If the self-closer on your front door doesn’t work every time, please let us know so we can make sure it’s fixed and provides you and your neighbours with protection if a fire were to break out

The diagram below shows the typical features of flat front doors:



  • If you use portable heaters, secure them against a wall to stop them falling over, or fit wall-mounted heaters
  • Never use heaters for drying clothes on
  • Keep heaters well away from curtains and furniture
  • Don’t sit too close to a heater – keep at least one metre away
  • When you switch your heater off, let it cool down before moving it
  • Paraffin, kerosene, or calor gas in portable gas heaters can be extremely dangerous as they can increase the risk of fire and explosion and also give off carbon monoxide, which can put your life and the lives of your neighbours at risk.


More deaths are caused by fire from smoking (including cigarettes, roll-ups, cigars and pipes) than any other type of fire.

  • If you smoke, put out your cigarettes completely and dispose of them properly
  • It’s safer to smoke outside but, if you have a balcony, don’t throw cigarettes, etc. over the side
  • If you do smoke indoors, never smoke in bed
  • If you’re feeling tired, don’t smoke in armchairs and sofas and don’t balance lit cigarettes on the edge of an ashtray or anything else
  • Run water on your ashtray before you empty it
  • Take extra care when you’re tired, taking prescription drugs or if you’ve been drinking alcohol
  • If you use a vape, only use the charger that came with it. Always check the battery for damage, buy from a reputable seller and don’t leave it charging for extended periods.

Fire safety in your building

Communal areas

It's essential that all communal areas, including corridors, walkways and stairwells are kept completely clear of all items and belongings, including bikes, buggies, scooters, plant pots, shoes, rubbish and door mats. This is because they:

  • increase the risk of fire
  • obstruct and slow down the emergency services – the longer it takes firefighters to gain access, the more out of control fires become, which puts their lives at even greater risk

If your building has an evacuate policy, or if a fire occurs and the Fire Brigade tell you to get out, items in communal areas will also slow you and your neighbours down from getting to safety.

If you find any items or rubbish in communal areas, please contact us.

Communal areas and escape route illustration

Communal service cupboards

There are a number of cupboards in blocks of flats to access gas, water or electrical services. These are not storage cupboards and should be kept locked; residents must not use them to store items as it increases the risk of fire starting and spreading. If you notice a cupboard that has a damaged or open door or is full of items, please contact us as soon as possible.

To help protect our residents, we will be disposing of any items found in these cupboards. We won’t be able to check who owns these items and there will be no compensation offered for any items removed.

If you find rubbish or anything blocking communal areas or fire escapes, please contact us.

Fire Action Notice

All of our buildings must, by law, display a Fire Action Notice to explain to residents and visitors what they need to do in the unlikely event of a fire. Below is a typical example of a Fire Action Notice.

A4 Fire Action Sticker

They’re located in the entrance of each building, usually on a communal notice board. Please make sure you take a look at the Notice for your building. The information they provide includes details of whether the strategy for your building is to evacuate or stay put.

Fire doors

The Grenfell Tower Inquiry Phase 1 report noted that “Fire doors play an essential role in preventing or inhibiting the spread of smoke and toxic gases and in preserving the effective compartmentation of buildings.”

  • The communal doors throughout your building are there to prevent fire and smoke from spreading. It is therefore vital that they are never propped open
  • If you see a fire door that is propped open, please close it immediately
  • We regularly check communal fire doors: under the Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022, checks must be made quarterly
  • If you come across any door in your building that is damaged please report it to us as soon as possible on 01892 501480
  • If you live in a flat, please also see ‘Flat front doors’ in the ‘Keeping safe inside your home’ section above.

Gas cylinder devices

Gas cylinder devices – including portable gas heaters, gas-fuelled barbecues and blow torches – pose the risk of fire or explosions.
We don't allow gas cylinder devices to be used or stored anywhere on our estates, including on balconies, in roof-top gardens, communal gardens and indoor communal areas.

If you have these items, please contact your local council to arrange for their disposal.

Useful information, advice and tips from Kent Fire and Rescue Service

The Kent Fire and Rescue Service also has lots of advice to keep you and your household safe.

If you’d like to have tailored fire safety advice for your own home, or for someone else, we recommend you take a look at their home fire safety checker. This online tool allows you to carry out a thorough check of your home in only a few minutes. It’s simple and practical – giving you specific advice for your family and your home.

Alternatively, you might like to arrange a free home safety visit. The Kent Fire and Rescue Service carry out these every year, providing personalised advice about fire safety. You can find out more on the Kent Fire and Rescue Service website. You can also contact the Kent Fire and Rescue Service to answer your queries.