In a residential leasehold property, it is particularly important to be aware of your safety, and of the safety of others around you.
At Town & City, the safety and wellbeing of all residents in the properties we manage is our top priority. As residential property managers, we have a responsibility to make sure that the external fabric of each and every building we manage is secure and to ensure that the common areas of each building are as safe as possible, adhering to all modern fire safety standards.
For this reason, we conduct regular inspections of all our sites and always make sure that our property managers are available to troubleshoot any issues that may occur to do with the day-to-day running of each property.
However, as property managers, it is only the common areas of the building and the external façade that we look after. So here are a few hints and tips on how to stay safe inside each apartment too.
The Landlord’s Responsibility
If you are a property owner or a landlord, it is your responsibility to keep your leaseholders and tenants safe, and to provide them with all the information they need to know what to do in the event of any emergency within their building. Please consult with your building’s management committee if you are in any doubt as to what the emergency procedures for your building may be. Your committee should be able to provide you with ample information on everything from what to do if you hear a fire alarm to how to report everything from a suspicious package in the hallway, and most importantly, how to react in the case of a suspected fire.
Here at Town & City, we take a proactive role when it comes to the safety of our residents and, as such, have hosted a number of fire safety talks led by local Fire and Rescue services. During these talks, residents were able to ask their own questions and raise personal areas of concern with regard to fire safety.
Our very popular Fire Safety document also contains some handy hints and tips for general good practice relating to potential electrical hazards and safe cooking in the kitchen.
Flats and apartment differ from other properties in that each flat is designed to be a fire-resisting ‘box’. This means that if a fire starts within an apartment, the fire should remain within just within that apartment, and other flats will be protected. However, in the unlikely event that the integrity of the box should fail, or if a fire should start in a communal area rather than in an individual living space, other flats in the block will also be much more at risk of catching fire than if the fire were to break out in a house.
So to prevent this from happening, as outlined in our Fire Safety guide, here are our top recommendations on how to make sure that your apartment is fully protected:
- Install a smoke detector
By far the most effective method, a smoke detector gives vital warning and extra escape time in the event of a fire breaking out. Mains-wired detectors are the most effective and should be checked on a weekly basis.
- Make sure that all your electrical appliances are safe
Electrical fires are the most common type to occur in domestic spaces. Please make sure that all electrical appliances are turned off rather than left on standby before you go to bed, and that you keep a watchful eye on them in case of overheating. Keep all electrics away from water and try to keep to one plug per socket if you can.
- Clean your kitchen regularly
A build-up of fat and grease on your oven, hob or grill can ignite a fire. To prevent this, it is good to keep these areas clean and in working order at all times.
- Keep doors closed
Closing inside doors at night will help prevent a fire from spreading. It is a wise idea to make sure all door and window keys are in a place where everyone can find them, so that you can exit the property more easily, just in case your main exit is ever blocked.
If a fire does start, however, follow these steps to remain safe:
- Do not panic!
Of course, this is easier said than done, but if a fire starts, try to remain calm, call 999, and if it is safe to do so, exit your apartment block as swiftly as possible, avoiding using the lift.
- If the source of the fire is unclear and you are struggling to find an easy escape route, stay in your flat until the fire brigade arrives. Find a safe room, keep all doors closed and block any gaps with soft materials to stop smoke from coming in.
Purpose-built apartment blocks are typically designed to hold back flames for around 30-60 minutes. You are usually safer staying put and calling 999, rather than escaping through an uncommon area and running the risk of coming into contact with the fire.
We hope these notes are helpful for you. If you would like us to organise a fire safety briefing for your property too, please get in touch and we will be happy to arrange this for you.