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Fire safety advice

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Fire safety at home

In the event of a fire in your home, an escape plan can save your life.  

The safest fire procedure for your home depends on what kind of building you live in. It is vital you know the fire evacuation plan for your building and where the exits are.  

The London Fire Brigade has advice on what to do if you live in a: 

If you are a council tenant or leaseholder, contact your on-site caretaker or housing officer for more information about your evacuation plan. If you are a private tenant in Camden, contact your landlord.

London Fire Brigade Saturday Surgeries

Every Saturday morning from 10am, firefighters will be on hand to give fire safety advice to residents. 

You can attend a Saturday Surgery at any of the 3 fire stations in the borough. Fire stations are located in Kentish Town, West Hampstead and Euston. 

During the event, you can ask firefighters for advice on fire safety topics, such as how to charge a personal electric vehicle safely and what to do in the event of a fire.

Firefighters will also be able to point residents in the right direction about where to find more information on our services and how the LFB is supporting the local community.

Fire safety video: how to keep safe in your home

London Fire Brigade Borough Commander David George shares some important information on fire safety precautions in your home. 

Remove fire hazards

If you store personal belongings in shared areas, they could prevent people from getting out safely during a fire. 

If you have large items you need to get rid of, find out how to book a bulky waste collection. You can also call 020 7974 4444.

Communal areas in council owned properties

We want you to be able to enjoy your home and personalise your space, however there are rules about what you can keep in the shared areas of your building. Find out more about what you can keep in shared areas and read the full policy on managing fire safety in communal areas

Smoke alarms and safety checks 

All homes must have a working smoke alarm. You are 4 times less likely to die from a fire in a home where a smoke alarm is fitted.

Smoke alarms have 10-year batteries and are designed to be easy to use with a ‘hush’ button for false alarms. If your alarm stops working, the London Fire Brigade will replace it for free.

All Camden residents can request a free home fire safety visit from the London Fire Brigade

During your visit, they will: 

  • fit free and additional smoke alarms, if you need them 
  • replace any broken equipment 
  • give advice on preventing fires 
  • assess your home for fire risks 

Visits are targeted in areas and situations where there is a higher risk of fire. This includes homes of older or disabled people.

There are also alarms designed specifically for people with hearing or visual impairments, such as an alarm that activates a strobe light or vibrating pad for the hearing impaired. These are also installed free of charge.  

Advice to keep you safe

To help prevent fires from happening, you should: 

  • avoid leaving your hob or grill unattended while in use 
  • take care when cooking with hot oil and think about using automatic deep fat fryers 
  • never leave lit candles unattended 
  • make sure cigarettes are stubbed out and disposed of carefully 
  • never smoke in bed 
  • do not overload sockets and follow advice on electric devices that can cause fires
  • keep matches and lighters away from children
  • never use a barbecue indoors or on a balcony 
  • keep clothing away from heating appliances 
  • take special care when you are tired or when you've been drinking 

The London Fire Brigade website has more fire safety advice

Electric bikes, scooters and wheelchairs 

Fires caused by lithium batteries are increasing. Storing and charging electric bikes, scooters and wheelchairs safely can mean the difference between life and death. 

Never block exits and doorways with your e-bike, scooter or wheelchair. This could prevent you from leaving your home quickly in an emergency.  

It is vital that you keep your vehicle near an existing smoke alarm, or fit a new one in the area where you keep it. You can get a free alarm from the London Fire Brigade. 

How to use lithium batteries safely 

  • only buy batteries from a trusted seller to make sure they meet safety standards 
  • follow the manufacturers’ instructions to charge the battery and unplug the charger when you’ve finished using it 
  • charge batteries on hard flat surfaces so that they don’t overheat 
  • never leave a battery charging when you’re asleep or away from home 
  • check batteries regularly to make sure they are in good condition – they can be dangerous if they have been damaged 
  • keep batteries out of sunlight and put them somewhere cool, especially on hot days 
  • leave the battery to cool down after you have used your vehicle before charging again 

The London Fire Brigade has more information about lithium batteries and how to keep yourself safe

Gas cooker recall 

Beko is seeking some older models of Beko, Flavel and Leisure gas cookers that can pose a serious risk to your health.

The affected models were manufactured before 2009 and could produce fatal levels of carbon monoxide if using the grill with the door closed.

You can check if your cooker is affected.

Fire safety for waste and vehicles

Refuse skips and wheelie bins

  • place skips at least 10 metres from buildings
  • ensure that rubbish is placed in the skip and not left on the ground nearby
  • waste packing and pallets should be removed as soon as possible
  • full skips should be removed as soon as possible
  • do not leave full skips over weekends or holiday periods
  • do not block fire exits
  • ensure skips are placed in a designated area
  • do not store combustible waste within two metres of any perimeter fences

Fires in wheelie bins can spread to surrounding property

  • do not overfill wheelie bins or place loose rubbish around them
  • wheelie bins should only be put out when a collection is due

Vehicle fires

Secure and safely parked vehicles are the best way to prevent fires because:

  • 65% of car fires are started deliberately to cover criminal activity, make a fraudulent insurance claim or as an act of vandalism
  • one in 12 vehicles reported stolen will be set on fire

If you spot an abandoned vehicle, you should report it to the police. Most Metropolitan areas operate a vehicle removal scheme. 

Safety checks for vehicles

Many other vehicle fires break out simply due to lack of basic maintenance and can be prevented.

Some of the main causes of vehicle fires are:

  • electrical: check wiring for signs of wear or damage
  • petrol: routinely check all fuel lines for signs of wear
  • welding: never use heat, naked flames or welding equipment near the fuel tank or fuel line

Guidance for e-bike or e-scooter owners or buyers

Battery safety guidance

The Government have shared guidance on battery safety for both e-scooters and e-bikes to raise awareness for owners on how to safely purchase an e-cycle or e-scooter, ensure it meets manufacturing requirements and is only bought from reputable sellers.

The guidance, published on 1 Feb 2024, also covers safe storage and charging, the warning signs for fire risk and how to address them, and how to dispose of batteries responsibly. The guidance also reminds people that e-scooters cannot be used legally on roads unless they are part of an official rental trial.

Safety guidance for e-bike or e-scooter owners or buyers

The Office for Product Safety and Standards have shared guidance highlighting the steps people should take when owning or thinking of buying an e-bike or scooter. The Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS), the UK’s national product regulator, recommends you follow these five steps when purchasing, using or charging your e-bike or e-scooter to reduce fire risks:

Step 1 - Research 

Only buy an e-bike, e-scooter, charger or battery from a known seller and check any product reviews.

Step 2 - Read 

Always read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for charging and using e-bikes or e-scooters.

Step 3 - Check 

Not all e-bike or e-scooter batteries and chargers are compatible or safe when used together. Check and only use the manufacturer’s recommended battery or charger.

Step 4 - Charge

Always charge in a safe place without blocking exits and always unplug your charger when you have finished charging.

Step 5: Never

Attempt to modify or tamper with your battery.

The guidance, published 6 December 2023, follows several fire incidents, some of them fatal, involving lithium-ion batteries in e-bikes and e-scooters, including in conversion kits.