Fire safety

Find out how to keep your home safe from the risk of fire, prevent it occuring in communal areas, and how to check any fire doors are undamaged and working properly.

Did you know...?

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You’re around eight times more likely to die in a fire if you do not have a working smoke alarm in your home.

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Around half of home fires are caused by cooking accidents.


Two fires a day are started by candles.


Every six days someone dies from a fire caused by a cigarette.


About three fires a day are started by heaters.


Faulty electrics (appliances, wiring and overloaded sockets) cause around 4,000 fires in the home across the country every year.



  • Keep smoke alarms and heat detectors free from dust and test them once a week. Let us know if you can’t do that due to your mobility or for any other reason.
  • Know the escape routes from your home and make sure that everyone in your home knows how to escape if there is a fire and keep the exits from your home clear so that people can get out easily.
  • Make sure that everyone in your home can easily find the keys to doors and windows.
  • Take extra care in the kitchen – never leave young children alone, and be very careful when cooking with hot oil.
  • Never leave lit candles alone or in rooms where children are on their own. Make sure candles are in secure holders on a surface that does not burn and are away from any materials that could burn.
  • Make sure cigarettes are out properly and are disposed of carefully, making sure your ashtray can’t tip over and is made of a material that won’t burn. Never smoke in bed and take extra care if you smoke when you’re tired, taking prescription drugs, or if you’ve been drinking. Do not smoke in enclosed communal areas.
  • Get into the habit of closing doors at night. If you want to keep a child’s bedroom door open, you should still close the doors to the lounge and kitchen. Never prop open fire doors - they are designed to self-close for a reason.
  • Remember one plug for one socket – don’t overload electrical sockets.
  • Keep matches and lighters where children can’t see or reach them.
  • TVs or other electrical appliances should not be left on standby as this could cause a fire – always switch off and unplug when not in use.
  • Do not use ethanol fires/fireplaces
  • For electrical appliances including fridges, consider registering the details on Register My Appliance. If a manufacturer identifies problems with an appliance, even once the product has been in use for some time, they can contact you to get the fault corrected as quickly as possible.

Do you have a disability that affects sight, hearing, or movement?

If you or a member of your household has any difficulty seeing, hearing, or moving about the home, you will need to take extra care to deal with the risk of a fire. You can contact our staff or Buckinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service who will be able to provide advice.

Do you live in a flat?

If you live in a block of flats or a sheltered housing scheme you must understand what to do in the event of a fire. Fire management plans are specific to each building. You can see an example of a fire management plan here:

Fire Management Plan

Make sure you read yours and understand it. You’ll find it in a communal space like a hallway.

Some buildings require full evacuation, and all residents need to leave in the event of a fire. Other buildings are designed so that fires are containable in a specific area, and sometimes these buildings will have a 'Safe to Stay' policy.

What does 'Safe to Stay' mean?

The construction of our blocks means some individual flats are compartmented (individually boxed in), which protects residents in the event of a fire. Walls, ceilings and doors will hold back flames and smoke, so if there’s a fire somewhere else in the building, and there is a Safe to Stay policy in place, then you’re usually safest in your home unless you’re affected by heat or smoke.

To further improve safety, every flat in blocks where we have a Safe to Stay policy has its own smoke alarm, which is hard-wired to the mains electricity supply, so there isn’t a battery that needs changing.

But remember, even if your building has a Safe to Stay policy, you must leave immediately if smoke or heat enters your home, or if you are told to by the fire service.

If you are in any doubt, get out. If the fire is inside your flat, get out quickly, close the door to prevent the fire spreading into the corridor, and raise the alarm by calling the fire service.

Communal areas

We carry out regular fire risk assessments on the communal areas of your building, but there are also 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 catch 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 in them
  • 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.

The government's website has more information about how to stay safe from fire.

Outdoor activities are often a great way to spend your leisure time, but they have their own set of unique fire risks that should not be underestimated. However, some common sense preparation can ensure you have a safe and enjoyable experience.

If you’d like to build a permanent firepit or barbeque in your garden, you’ll need to get permission from us first.

General safety

  • Make sure your barbeque or firepit is in good working order
  • Ensure the barbeque or firepit is on a flat surface, well away anything that might catch fire, like a shed, trees or fences.
  • Never use a barbeque or firepit on a balcony – this is very dangerous for you and your neighbours
  • Never use a barbeque or firepit indoors as there is a real risk of creating dangerous carbon monoxide gas
  • Keep children, garden games and pets well away from the cooking area
  • Never leave the barbeque or firepit unattended, particularly if children are nearby
  • Keep a bucket of water or sand nearby for emergencies
  • Ensure the barbeque or firepit is cool before attempting to move it

Gas, charcoal or firepit - top tips for staying safe

Gas barbeques

  • Make sure the tap is turned off before changing the gas cylinder
  • Always change cylinders outdoors, and store new cylinders outside
  • If you suspect a leak to the cylinder or pipe work, brush soapy water around the joints and watch for bubbles – tighten to fix but do not overtighten
  • After cooking, turn off the gas cylinder before turning off at the controls to ensure any residual gas in the pipe work is used up.

Charcoal barbeques

  • Use only enough charcoal to cover the base to a depth of about 50mm (2 inches)
  • Only use recognised fire lighters or starter fuel, and only on cold coals – use the minimum necessary and never use petrol
  • Never put hot ashes straight into a dustbin or wheelie bin – they could melt the plastic and cause a fire.


  • Place or build your firepit in a flat, open area. Avoid areas with trees, especially trees with low-hanging branches. Do not place a moveable firepit on a slope.
  • When purchasing a firepit, always buy the fire screen for extra protection, if available.
  • When possible, place your pit on concrete, dirt, or gravel. Avoid placing the pit on or around grass or leaves, and never light a pit if the grass it is on is too dry.
  • Ensure seating is not made of flammable materials and is positioned for enjoyment without danger. 3 metres is the perfect distance away from the fire.

Tumble dryers are a useful addition to any household - but only when they're used safely.

  • Always remember to register a new appliance with the manufacturer. That way you can be contacted easily if a safety recall is required. You can also register your appliance, regardless of its age
  • Use Electrical Safety First's free online checker to see if your tumble dryer or any other electrical items have been recalled
  • If you're worried about fitting a new tumble dryer (or any other appliances) yourself, always ask a qualified electrician.

Find out more about tumble dryer safety.

Smoke detector regulations and fire detector protection

The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (Amendment) Regulations 2022 came into place on 1st October 2022. From this date, all relevant landlords have had to ensure at least one smoke alarm is equipped on each storey where there is a room used as living accommodation.

We also comply with British Standard Code BS 5839. All our homes have fire detection systems, and the vast majority are fitted at a minimum standard of LD2 as outlined in the code.