Fire safety

Keeping you safe in your home is a top priority for us. As well as providing you with smoke alarms, if you have an assured, secure or fixed term tenancy we also check and service your gas, oil and solid fuel appliances (and the pipework) in your annual gas safety check. You can find out more about fire safety below or by contacting us.

Get fire smart

There’s a lot you can do to Get Fire Smart and protect your family and your home from the danger of fire.

1. Do your monthly checks

  • Test your smoke alarm and any carbon monoxide detector at least monthly by pressing the button. If the alarm doesn’t sound, replace the battery - or contact us immediately if you have a mains-powered smoke alarm fitted, so we can arrange to fix it. This is the most important thing you can do to protect yourself from fire or carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Replace the batteries each year or when the alarm sounds to show that the batteries are running low.
  • Consider fitting extra battery-powered alarms in the centre of the ceiling, away from any lights.

2. Make an escape plan 

  • Smoke makes it almost impossible to see when you're trying to escape - so plan how you’d escape if a fire did break out, and then practice it with your family.
  • The best exit is usually the nearest exit but have a back-up plan in case it's blocked. You could include any ground floor windows in your plan.
  • Make sure everyone knows the escape plan.
  • Keep keys near doors and windows so it’s quicker to get out. (For security reasons, don’t keep them within reach from outside.)
  • If there’s smoke, keep as low as possible as the air’s clearer there.
  • Check doors before you open them – if they’re hot, there’s fire the other side so use your plan B exit.
  • If you’re the last one out, close the door behind you to slow the progress of the fire.

3. Keep corridors and exits clear to help you escape

  • Keep corridors and exits clear. As well as fuelling a fire, obstructions block your escape route and prevent the fire service getting in to put out the fire. 
  • If you live somewhere with communal corridors or other areas, it's essential you don't leave items like bikes, buggies or mobility scooters in them. 
  • If we become aware of items left in communal areas of Sovereign blocks we'll remove them within one working day.
Our short film with Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service vividly shows why it’s so important to keep fire doors closed and corridors clear:

4. Avoid the common causes of fires in the home

  • Check your electrical appliances to make sure there’s no evidence of faults, loose or exposed wires. Don't overload electrical sockets.
  • Avoid running appliances like washing machines or dryers at night or when no-one’s about. Clean lint from tumble dryers.
  • Don’t burn candles in your home and keep soft furnishings away from anything that generates heat, including light bulbs.
  • Take care in the kitchen – don't leave cooking unattended and keep electrical appliances and leads away from water. 
  • If you smoke, make sure you stub any cigarettes completely out.

5. Fire safety in flats and shared buildings

  • Don’t prop open fire doors – they’re there to stop the spread of a fire. Let us know if you notice any damage or faults to fire doors or self-closer door fixings, so that we can fix them.
  • Keep all exits and communal corridors clear. If you notice others are blocking corridors and you’d like us to speak to them, please let us know.
  • Keep mobility scooters out of corridors or near exits.
  • Never use a BBQ on a balcony as this could start a fire. If you smoke, always make sure you stub out cigarettes properly and dispose of them carefully.
  • Know the fire safety arrangements for your block – what’s the evacuation policy? Read the fire action notice for your building and, if you’re not sure, please contact us.
  • Never use a lift to escape – you could become trapped.
  • If you have elderly or vulnerable neighbours, consider how you could safely help them in an emergency.
  • We review fire safety in all of our taller buildings each year to make sure our advice is correct and to identify any improvements to make our homes even safer. If you have any questions or concerns about the risk of fire in your building, please contact us.  
  • We also work with Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service about fire safety in our homes. Check out their website for what to do if a fire occurred in your flat or block.
  • We also filmed an evacuation drill with the fire service at one of our housing for older people schemes if you’d like to get some more top tips:

If you’re a leaseholder or shared owner, you’re responsible for some fire safety related servicing and repairs. Our leaseholder responsibilities page tells you more.

The government's Fire safety campaign website has more tips, or contact your local fire service for advice (some can arrange a free home fire safety check) by visiting
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Find out how to protect your home with this guide from the National Fire Service

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