Fire safety

Content owner : housing@knh.org.uk Last updated : 27/02/13

It is the responsibility of everyone to raise the alarm on discovering a fire. Telephone 999 for the Fire Service and give them the full address.

KNH tries to help prevent injury and damage through fire, so all our properties have smoke detectors, which are serviced once a year. Do not take batteries out of smoke detectors, disconnect or remove them! Smoke detectors save lives.

If the detector is not working then please report it and KNH will arrange to repair


What to do if you discover a fire or the alarm sounds

If the fire is in your home

  • Leave the affected room immediately together with anybody else. Close the door behind you
  • Raise the alarm
  • Leave the building immediately by the nearest available exit, closing all doors and windows if possible behind you.
  • Do not stop to collect personal belongings.
  • Wait outside the building in a safe place for the Fire Service to arrive.
  • If your exit is cut off, close the door of your room and seal it with either a blanket or rug to prevent the fire or the smoke spreading. Call for help from a window if you canít escape.

If you see or hear a fire in another part of the building

  • Raise the alarm.
  • It will often be safe for you to stay in your home. Closed doors will hold back fire for some time and wet towels can be used to stop smoke getting in around doors
  • Close all doors and windows.
  • If necessary, the Fire Service will advise you to leave your home.
  • If smoke or heat affects your home, leave the building if safe to do so by the nearest available exit closing all doors and windows if possible behind you.
  • Do not use the lift.
  • Wait outside the building in a safe place for the Fire Service to arrive.

Blocks of six storeys or more

  • In addition to the detection within each home these buildings are fitted with wider fire detection and alarm systems.
  • Alarms will sound if a fire is detected in nearby homes or in the common areas of the building. It will often be safe for you to stay in your home*.
  • Due to the high degree of fire separation provided, it should be safe for you to stay in your home. All flat entrances are fitted with fire doors and special seals. However, you should prepare to leave if instructed by the fire service or your safety is compromised.

Sheltered housing

  • Due to the high level of fire protection and a fixed fire sprinkler system within these buildings you should stay on your home. You will be informed if it becomes necessary to evacuate areas other than those in the immediate vicinity of a fire.

Safe management of communal areas

  • Common areas in blocks of more than three storeys should be kept totally sterile.
  • Common areas in blocks of three storeys may only contain - Doormats provided these lie flat and are less than 20mm in thickness at the edges, frame covered pictures (behind glass), non-flammable ornaments and living plants.
  • Common areas in blocks of two storeys may only contain - Doormats provided these lie flat and are less than 20mm in thickness at the edges, frame covered pictures, non-flammable ornaments, hardwood furniture and living plants. Curtains and other fabrics are allowed provided they display labels confirming the material is flame retardant and/or has passed ignitibility tests. Fitted carpets will be allowed - but not where non-slip flooring has been installed.
  • None of the above should obstruct or create trip hazards on any evacuation route(s).
  • Residents have no automatic right to store or display anything within communal areas as these are for access to and from the blocks for residents and visitors. The above items are only allowed as they present minimal fire risk. If you wish to keep anything else in the common you must firstly make a formal request to your housing office. We will consider whether it can be allowed and confirm the decision in writing.

How to make your house a safe home

Check your smoke alarm regularly

You are twice as likely to die in a fire in households without a working smoke alarm. More than 70 people are killed every year because their smoke alarm didn't work.

Check your smoke alarm once a week by pressing the button and holding it until the alarm sounds. If your alarm starts to "beep" regularly, the battery is running out, replace the battery straight away.


Ensure cigarettes are stubbed out and disposed of carefully

Households with a resident smoker are nearly one and a half times more likely to have a fire than non-smoking homes. Fires started by cigarettes account for one third of all fatal fires in the home and kill more people than any other kind of fire.


  • Never smoke in bed
  • Keep matches and lighters away from children

Keep clothing away from fires and portable heaters

The flames or heating elements are very hot and can easily set fire to clothes. Itís OK to put clothes on water filled wall radiators as these are far less hot.


Never leave lit candles unattended and always make sure theyíre in proper holders or containers.

Candles are easily knocked over and can simply fall over if they burn down unevenly.


Take care in the kitchen

According to latest figures over 67% of all accidental household fires occurred in the kitchen, 10% occurred in the bedroom and a further 10% occurred in the living or dining room.

Take care when cooking with hot oil and think about using thermostatically controlled deep fat fryers. Chip pan fires account for 20% of all accidental household fires


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.


Make a fire action plan so that everyone in your house knows how to escape in the event of fire

Being trapped in some way contributes to 45% of deaths in household fires. On average, a quarter of all fatalities in household fires occur because people are trapped while asleep. You are almost three times more likely to be killed in a fire that starts in the night.

Each year, around half of all accidental dwelling fire fatalities occur in the room where the fire first started.

Keep your exits clear and keep door and window keys handy.


On the upstairs floor of every house there should be an escape window which opens wide enough to get through in case you canít get downstairs. Do you know where yours is?

If you donít know where it is then find it now - and let others you live with know where it is. It could save your life.