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Smoke on a black background

Fire safety

The main causes of fire

Most fires in blocks of flats start within the individual flats themselves. Electrical faults from overloaded sockets are the main cause. 

Cigarettes are another major problem. Fires can start when they’re not put out properly, or when someone smoking out of a window throws the butt away and it falls through a neighbour's open window below.

Chip and frying pans are particularly dangerous when someone forgets to turn off the hob. So are fragranced candles when they’re left unattended.

Fire safety at Christmas time

  • Check that your Christmas tree lights carry the British Safety Standard sign 
  • Never place candles near your Christmas tree or materials that can catch light easily 
  • Test your smoke and Carbon Monoxide alarms regularly and only remove batteries when replacing them
  • Make sure cigarettes are put out properly
  • Decorations can burn easily – so don’t attach them to lights or heaters
  • Keep candles, lighters and matches out of children’s reach. Never leave burning candles unattended and always ensure they are fully out before you go to bed 
  • Take care around open fireplaces as clothes may catch fire  
  • Take time to check on older relatives and neighbours this Christmas as they are at greater risk from fire at this time of year 
  • Make sure your family and visitors know how to escape in an emergency
  • Avoid leaving a cooker unattended and do not cook when under the influence of alcohol
  • Never overload electrical sockets. Always switch Christmas lights off and unplug them before you go to bed
  • Store fireworks safely, never go back to a lit firework and keep a bucket of water nearby.

Fire safety in communal areas

As your landlord we have a legal duty to arrange for a fire risk assessment to be carried out on the communal areas of your building, and for it to be kept under review. But there are a few things you can do to help:

  • Don’t obstruct the communal areas, which often form the fire escape route for the block
  • Don’t prop open fire doors in communal areas
  • Don’t clutter the stairs, corridors and landings with personal items or things that can set fire easily 
  • Don’t store prams, bicycles or mobility scooters in communal areas without our permission. You won’t get permission if the fire safety of the block is put at risk
  • If you see anything in the communal areas that doesn’t belong there, remove it or tell us and we will arrange removal
  • Don’t store flammable materials in cupboards that have electrical circuits
  • Make sure you put all rubbish in the bins provided — don’t leave it lying around in the refuse area as this can easily be set on fire.

Preventing fires in your flat

The best protection from fire is prevention. Remember, most fires in blocks of flats start within the flats themselves, not in the communal areas. Smoke detectors are the most effective way of preventing fires. They also give vital early warning and extra time to escape in the event of one breaking out. You should check your smoke detector weekly to see if it’s working. 

It’s important to check the doors in your flat are in good condition and that they shut properly. Never remove internal doors or wedge them open; make sure they’re closed at night.

Make sure you know where the keys are kept for the main door are kept.

Fire door safety

As a landlord of several hundred purpose-built blocks of flats, it's impossible to check all doors every day. Therefore, it's important that people who visit, live or work within one of our blocks raise issues with faulty or damaged fire doors. This will help us keep everyone safe. Read our fire door safety page for more information. 

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Realising the potential in our communities


Red Kite Community Housing, Windsor Court, Kingsmead Business Park, High Wycombe, HP11 1JU

Red Kite Community Housing is the trading name of Red Kite Community Housing Limited, a charitable registered society which operates for the benefit of the community under the Cooperative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014, registered in England with the Financial Conduct Authority (registration number 31322R) and the Regulator of Social Housing (registration number 4682). VAT number 290 7410 06.