Fire Safety

Fire is a major cause of injury and death in the home, and you should always be aware of the risks. It is important that you plan ahead to make sure everyone in your home knows where the methods of escape are in case of a fire. Make sure you keep door and window keys handy.

If you live in sheltered accommodation the sheltered housing officer will let you know fire evacuation procedures.

We have installed smoke detectors in all our homes to give you more protection.

How should I look after my smoke detectors?

Make sure your smoke detectors are working once a week.

You can do this by pressing and holding down the button on the unit until the alarm sounds. This should take ten seconds, and if the alarm makes a loud sound for up to ten seconds then it is working.

If the alarm does not sound, or if you suspect any other problem with your alarm, contact the repairs line on 03456 08 12 03 immediately.

Never disconnect the power to a mains powered smoke detector since this could remove your protection. All mains powered smoke alarms installed are equipped with a ten year back-up battery.

You should use a vacuum cleaner to clean your smoke detectors at least once a year, paying particular attention to the sensor.

What should I do if my house has a battery powered smoke alarm?

If the detector emits a single beep approximately every ten seconds the battery is low in power. The detector will continue to work, but the battery should be replaced at the earliest opportunity. Keep a spare battery at hand to ensure a ready replacement is available.

We are installing hard-wired smoke detectors in all our properties. If your home still has battery powered detectors contact your local Housing office and we will replace them with hard wired units.

We will be inspecting all homes to make sure they all have mains powered detectors as part of a wider electrical safety check programme. If your property has not been checked please contact your local Housing office for advice.

What steps can I take to prevent a fire in my home?

We work with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service which can arrange a home fire safety visit. Local crews will schedule an appointment to come to a person's home and check your smoke alarms where necessary and highlight any potential fire hazards. This is a free service.

You can arrange a Home Fire Safety visit by:

Further information on how to prevent fire can be found in the following leaflet:

You can also prevent fire by:

  • taking care when using candles in your home. Do not leave them unattended and make sure you put them out after use
  • always unplugging electric appliances when not in use. For example, disconnect mobile phone chargers
  • making sure cigarettes are stubbed out and by emptying ashtrays into an inflammable bin each night before you go to bed
  • putting a guard around an open fire
  • closing internal doors at night
  • leaving the stairway, hallway and landing clear of obstacles to make sure that there is an escape route in the event of fire
  • never leaving a chip pan unattended on the cooker, or filling it more than a third of its capacity with oil. The biggest cause of fire in the home is as a result of overheated pans
  • not leaving matches or lighters where children can reach them
  • using only child safe lighters
  • never smoking in bed
  • never using any electrical appliance with a damaged flex, and regularly checking flexes and fittings
  • not overloading electrical power points
  • avoiding the use of multi-way plug adapters
  • using light fittings only for lighting
  • getting expert help for all electrical repairs and wiring
  • never draping anything over a convector or storage heater
  • making sure your electric blanket is BEAB (British Electrotechnical Approvals Board) approved; using the electric blanket only for the purpose intended; and following manufacturer’s instructions for use, care and servicing
  • taking additional care when cooking or smoking, if you have been drinking. Excessive alcohol consumption is a major cause of fire in the home

You should also make sure that you check your home before you go to bed each night.

Make a bedtime check:

  • close inside doors at night to stop fire from spreading
  • turn off and unplug electrical appliances unless they are designed to be left on – like your freezer
  • check your cooker is turned off
  • do not leave your washing machine or tumble drier turned on
  • turn heaters off and put up fireguards
  • put candles and cigarettes out properly
  • make sure exits from your home are kept clear
  • keep door and window keys where everyone can find them

Fire safety outside the home

Unfortunately many fires occur in the garden each year, particularly in the summer months when conditions are dry. It is worthwhile taking a few basic precautions:

  • make sure that bushes and hedges are kept away from outside walls of your home. Uncontrolled vegetation can be a real fire risk
  • Properly dispose of cigarettes, do not throw into plants and hedges
  • make sure that wheelie bins are properly stored, ideally away from outside walls of your home, fencing, walls sheds and hedges
  • make sure that rubbish is properly disposed of and do not use bins for hot ashes
  • take extra care with barbeques – position on a level site, well away from your home, fencing, walls, sheds and hedges. Use firelighters or barbeque fuel to light, never use petrol or paraffin. Make sure that gas cylinders are kept outside, are secure and away from direct sunlight
  • if you use garden candles and lanterns, make sure they are firmly pushed into the ground and keep children and pets well away
  • be careful when refuelling petrol mowers and other garden equipment. Always store flammable materials in correct and properly marked containers. Never smoke when refuelling equipment. If clothing catches fire – Stop, Drop and Roll

What should I do if I discover a fire in my home?

Do not tackle fires yourself. Leave it to the professionals.

  • be prepared. Know your escape route. Know what to do if your escape route is blocked
  • keep calm and act quickly, get everyone out as soon as possible
  • do not waste time investigating what has happened or rescuing valuables
  • if there is smoke, keep low where the air will be clearer
  • before you open a door check if it is very warm. If it is, do not open it – fire is on the other side
  • call 999 as soon as you are clear of the building

What should I do if my home suffers fire damage?

Should you be unfortunate enough to suffer from a house fire, you should advise your local Housing office as quickly as possible.

We have fire damage insurance for all our houses and we will be responsible for repairing and restoring the structure and fabric of the house. However, our insurance does not extend to decoration or your own possessions. You should make sure you have adequate contents insurance cover for this.