Poole Housing Partnership Ltd
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Fire safety

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Mark's Top Electrical Safety Tips - April 2021

Electrical cables– all power cables and extension leads should be checked regularly. As a rule of thumb, don’t run cables under rugs and furniture, as they can cause a trip hazard, overheat or get crushed and damaged.

Plug sockets – overloading plug sockets is a common cause of electrical fires. Always make sure the sockets are cool to the touch. And only plug one heat-producing appliance into a multi-way socket at a time. Find out if you are overloading sockets with the Socket Calculator 

Unplug all unused appliances – an unplugged appliance is 100% safer than one that’s left plugged in. Not only does it save you money, as plugged-in appliances still use power when on standby mode, but it protects them from overheating or power surges. If your sockets are a bit hard to reach, like behind bookcases or sofas, invest in a smart plug or energy-saving extension bar.

The safety Mark – make sure electrical appliances have a British or European safety mark when you buy them.

Always follow manufacturer’s instructions – possibly the best piece of advice when using any electrical appliance is “read the instructions”. Using your devices correctly improves performance and keeps you safe.

DIY – nearly half of all severe electric shocks are as a result of DIY attempts in the home. If you're not sure don’t DIY.

Keep electrical devices away from water – water and electricity together is a deadly combination. To follow electrical safety rules, keep all electrical equipment well away from water. There’s a high risk of electrocution if you use an electrical appliance with damp hands. And always unplug your kettle before filling it!

Keep unused cables tidy and secure – electrical safety doesn’t only apply when cables are in use. Make sure they’re stored away safely when you’re not using them. It’s best not to wrap cables around objects (like your hairdryer or laptop plug), as it can stretch them, and cause overheating. And never put an electricity cable on a hot surface, as it can damage the insulation and wiring inside. 

Allow space for air circulation – electrical equipment needs room for the air to circulate, to keep cool it while it’s working. Without this, it can overheat and be a fire hazard. Don’t put anything on top of electrical appliances like microwaves, and don’t run electrical equipment in cupboards. And if you’re using a standalone heater, make sure it’s at least a foot from the wall.

Be safe with heaters – it might sound like common sense but keep combustible items away from heaters. Portable heaters shouldn't be used near curtains and should always be on a level, stable surface.

Do not leave appliances unattended whilst their batteries are being charged. Ensure chargers and batteries are purchased from a reliable source. 

Check the fuse – it’s easy to replace a fuse on plugs – but make sure you use the right one for the appliance. Using the wrong fuse can cause a cable to overheat, and means the appliance isn’t protected against electrical faults.

Fusebox – the main switch in the fusebox allows you to turn off the supply to your electrical installations. It should be easy to get to, so find out where your main switch is so you can turn the electricity off in an emergency.

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Fire Safety Guidelines

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Fire doors

If you live in a flat, which opens off an internal stairwell or corridor, then your front door must be a fire door with at least 30 minutes fire resistance. It must also be closed to be effective!

Fire doors are a crucial part of the passive fire protection of every commercial, public and multiple occupancy building. They save lives and property!  

Find out more here and read our 'Fire doors save lives' infographic below.

        

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About PHP’s Fire Safety Policy

The purpose of the policy is to help us identify hazards and reduce or remove potential fire risks in your communal areas, and make PHP’s tower blocks, low-rise flats and sheltered housing schemes as safe and pleasant as possible.

 

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What you can do to help prevent a fire

  • Do not smoke in the communal spaces. It is illegal to smoke in any PHP communal space and you will be breaking the law.
  • Never store anything in communal spaces e.g. bikes, mobility scooter etc.
  • Do not dispose of, or leave any items in your communal area. If you need help removing something, please call 0800 526 3900.
  • Do not store any flammable items in your garage or on your balcony.
  • Never block fire exit routes or prop open fire doors
  • Tell us if your needs change and whether you would need help if a fire occurred within your home or communal areas.
  • Tell us if you think there’s a possible fire hazard in a communal area.
  • In the event of a fire follow guidance in the fire action notices for your block.
  • Report any damage to fire safety equipment such as fire doors or dry risers. 

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Personal items in communal areas

We want residents to be proud of their homes and for communal areas to be attractive environments. Some personal items (pictures, small live plants, door mats) are allowed in communal areas, but we will ask you to remove items which are considered a hazard.



Are mobility scooters allowed to be in the communal areas?

As mobility scooters can be a fire hazard and could block fire exits, we expect you to store them in your own home or use purpose-built storage, where you have access to these facilities. If you strongly rely on a mobility scooter, we can help to organise an assessment with an Occupational Therapist or PHP Support Officer to establish if other help is available to you. Please remember that if you fail to remove your scooter from a communal area, you will be in breach of your tenancy agreement, which may result in further tenancy action.

 

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How we will manage your fire safety

  • ·We will carry out regular Fire Risk Assessments (FRAs) in communal spaces.
  • ·If we identify potential risks, we will contact you and advise what you should do about storing personal items e.g. prams, mobility scooters or bicycles.
  • ·We will carry out regular inspections in the communal spaces. The regularity of these will depend on the fire risk level that has been identified in the fire risk assessment.
  • ·We will advise you on where you can get a copy of the FRA for your area.
  • ·We will give you information about what to do in the event of a fire and whether or not your block has a stay put policy
  • ·We will maintain a record of who needs support in event of fire and maintain a profile of the people inhabiting the area.

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Fire prevention

  • ·We will regularly inspect fire doors, smoke alarms and other fire safety equipment.
  • ·We will work with Dorset Fire & Rescue Service to promote fire safety and educate residents about potential risks in their home as well as refer residents for free home safety checks by the fire service.
  • ·We will take action to remove hazardous objects in the communal spaces.

More information (links)

The Health and Safety at Work Act Explained -  British Safety Council

Housing Act 2004

Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005

Equality Act 2010

Landlords guide to Electricity Safety (2012)

Fire Safety in Purpose Built Flats (2011)

 

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Contact Us

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Mark Dearing,
Fire Safety Officer
 
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0800 652 3900
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