Fire safety

Fire safety advice

The procedure to escape safely from a fire in your home depends on what kind of building you live in, so it’s vital you know where the doors out of your building are and about the fire evacuation plan for your building.

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

The London Fire Brigade campaign includes a reminder that it’s important to keep communal areas and escape routes clear. If you store personal belongings in shared areas, they could prevent people from getting out safely during a fire.

If you’ve got large items you need to dispose of, find out how to do this here or call 020 7974 4444, selecting option 4 and then option 3.

Read more about the London Fire Brigade's campaign

Make an escape plan

In the event of a fire in your home, an escape plan can mean the difference between life and death:

  • talk through your escape plan with everyone who lives in your home, especially children and teenagers, older people and lodgers
  • choose the best escape route, which is normally your usual way in and out of your home
  • also choose a second escape route in case the first one is blocked. Always aim to keep them both clear
  • tell everyone where the keys to doors and windows are kept 
  • go through what to do in a fire
  • if there’s a fire it is vital that you act quickly and calmly once you become aware of a fire
  • alert everyone – shout and get everyone together
  • don’t delay – you can’t afford to waste any time
  • get everyone out, using your escape route
  • once you’ve escaped, call 999 (999 calls are free)
  • don’t go back in for anything - if there is still someone inside wait for the fire brigade to arrive
  • find somewhere safe to wait. When the fire brigade arrives, give as much information as possible about the fire and the building, and if anyone is still inside.

Reduce your risk of fire at home

You are four times as likely to die in a fire at home if you haven't got a smoke alarm. All Camden residents can have a free home fire safety check visit and get advice.

The fire code

The fire code is easy to remember and can save your life. Follow these simple steps to help prevent fires from happening:

  • take care when cooking with hot oil and think about using automatic deep fat fryers
  • never leave lit candles unattended
  • ensure cigarettes are stubbed out and disposed of carefully
  • never smoke in bed
  • keep matches and lighters away from children
  • keep clothing away from heating appliances
  • take care in the kitchen. Accidents whilst cooking account for 59% of fires in the home
  • take special care when you are tired or when you've been drinking
  • half of all deaths in domestic fires happen between 10pm and 8am.

Home fire safety checks

It is important that all homes are fitted with a working smoke alarm. You are four times less likely to die from a fire in a home fitted with a working smoke alarm.

The Safe as Houses partnership aims to reduce risks within the home, including the risk from fire.  All Camden residents can request a free home fire safety check and advice from London Fire Brigade.  Visits are targeted in areas and situations where there is a higher risk of fire, including the homes of older or disabled people.

The alarms have ten-year batteries and are designed to be easy to use with a ‘hush’ button for false alarms.  If any alarm that has been installed stops during the expected 10 year life of the battery, London Fire Brigade will replace the alarm free of charge.  This can be arranged using the contact details below.

A home fire safety check will look at the location of existing smoke alarms and decide if new or extra alarms are needed.  It is also an opportunity to identify a bedtime fire safety routine and an escape plan.

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.

To arrange an appointment for the home fire safety check and smoke alarm installation, contact London Fire Brigade:

London Fire Brigade
Phone: 0800 028 4428
Email: smokealarms@london-fire.gov.uk

Child safety in the home

Small children are particularly vulnerable in the home because they are too young to be aware of potential dangers.

Fortunately most accidents are preventable with the right awareness and equipment. Camden’s Safe as Houses can help with information, advice and home visits.

Safety equipment

There are many products on the market so making the right decision about what to buy can be hard. These are the main ones to consider:

  • Movable stair gates which stop toddlers tripping and falling down stairs. They cost between £15 and £30.
  • Window locks stop young children from climbing out of open windows which can lead to falls and injury. They range between £3 and £10.
  • Cupboard catches stop children opening cupboards that hold items like cleaning products which can cause harm if touched or swallowed. Catches cost between £3 and £7.
  • Non-slip bathmats reduce the risk of a child slipping in the bath and cost around £3 to £7.

Smoke alarms

It is also important that all homes are fitted with a working smoke alarm. All Camden residents are entitled to a free home fire safety check and local fire fighters will fit a smoke alarm for free if necessary. Find out more about free smoke alarms.

If you are receiving benefits

Safe as Houses can make a free home visit and advise you on which child safety equipment you need and work out how much it will cost. They can also help with buying equipment and installation for a fee.

At the same time they will also assess your home for fire safety and install a free smoke detector.

To arrange a visit contact the WISH Plus team.

I can’t afford to buy safety equipment

Camden Plus Credit Union is a financial co-operative owned and controlled by their members. They provide Camden residents with low interest loans for items such as child safety equipment. Even if you have been rejected by banks for loans or credit they can usually help. Find out more at www.camdenplus.co.uk or call 020 7482 3505.

Cost-free safety

Keeping children safe does not always mean spending money. There are simple and cost-free ways to be safety-aware from keeping hot drinks out of reach to making sure small toys are not left around that children may swallow.

The Royal Society for the Protection of Accidents (RoSPA) provides helpful information on general and child safety 'www.rospa.com

Please note we do not receive funding from the National Home Safety Equipment Scheme. This is because we have below the average number of accidents involving children in the home.

Gas cooker recall

Beko is still seeking some older models of Beko, Flavel and Leisure gas cookers that can produce potentially fatal levels of carbon monoxide, if used incorrectly with the grill door closed.

Skips and wheelie bins

Refuse skips and wheelie bins

  • place skips at least 10 metres from buildings
  • ensure that rubbish is place 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

Fire safety advice for business and commerce

Fire safety advice for business and commerce

  • make sure your fire alarm is tested weekly
  • inform your staff of what to do in the event of a fire, make sure they are familiar with the evacuation drill and escape routes for the building
  • make sure you carry out a continuous Fire Risk assessment of your building
  • never obstruct sprinkler heads and fire detectors
  • unsafe storage of waste packaging and pallets is a fire risk, never leave waste containers close to buildings
  • guard all sources of ignition
  • ensure that flammable liquids are stored safely
  • make sure that machinery and equipment is maintained

Further information on Fire Safety

Vehicle fires

Vehicle fires

  • 65% of car fires are started deliberately to cover criminal activity, to make a fraudulent insurance claim or as an act of vandalism
  • one in twelve reported stolen vehicles will be set on fire
  • many other vehicle fires break out simply due to lack of basic maintenance and can be prevented
  • emphasis should be placed on security of vehicle and safe parking
  • report abandoned vehicles to the police. Most Metropolitan areas operate a vehicle removal scheme

Safety check for vehicles

  • 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