Building Stay Put Policy

Jan 2, 2024 | Uncategorized

Escape plan for flats. 

 If you live in a purpose-built flat, bedsit or maisonette, your escape plan is crucial. Here’s what you need to know…

Examples of different types of building evacuation plans

If you live in a flat your landlord, housing provider or managing agent needs to tell you about the fire safety arrangements for your building. That includes the evacuation plan.

Your evacuation plan may advise you stay put, or it may advise that you leave the building. Both options are explained below.

If the advice for your building is to stay put:

  • If there is a fire elsewhere in the building, purpose-built blocks of flats and maisonettes are built to give you some protection from fire. Walls, floors and doors will hold back flames and smoke for a minimum of 30 to 60 minutes.
  • Close your windows and doors and stay in your flat or maisonette.
  • Call 999. Tell the fire service where you are in the building and the best way to reach you.
  • Once firefighters arrive be prepared to follow their instructions.
  • If you are being directly affected by fire, smoke or heat, alert everyone, leave the building and follow the advice below to evacuate.

Stay put advice

If the advice for your building is to evacuate:

  • Leave your flat or maisonette and close the doors behind you.
  • Move as quickly but as safely as you can, and don’t stop to investigate or pick up valuables.
  • Use the stairs to make your way out of the building – Don’t use the lift.
  • Call 999 as soon as you are safe to do so – don’t assume someone else has made the call.

You may hear this referred to as a Full or Temporary Simultaneous Evacuation (TSE).

Fire or smoke inside your home but your escape route is not clear?

If you can’t use your planned escape route safely, you may be safer to stay in your flat or maisonette until the fire brigade arrives.

  • Find a safe room as far as possible within the flat from any fire or smoke (with a window if possible), close the door and use soft materials to block any gaps to stop the smoke.
  • Go to a window, shout ‘HELP, FIRE’ and call 999.
  • Be ready to describe where you are and the quickest way for firefighters to reach you.
  • Try and stay on the line and act on the advice provided.

Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans (PEEPs)

These are a bespoke plan for anyone who may need assistance to evacuate a building or reach a place of safety.

It can include a person with physical disabilities, hearing and sight loss or limited mobility and those with a temporary condition e.g. heavily pregnant or someone with an injury.

Talk to your landlord or housing officer who can help you with this.

Steps you can take now

There are lots of ways you can take action now to prevent problems later if a fire occurs in your building:

Fire safety concerns in your building

If you are concerned about any aspect of fire safety with your building, for example the type of cladding, issues with blocked exits or damaged fire doors, you should raise these with the person responsible for fire safety. This could be your housing provider, the managing agents or landlord – if you have a residents committee let them know as well.

Communal areas

Communal corridors and staircases must be kept free from clutter, including pushchairs, e-bikes, mobility/e-scooters or rubbish.

They can block your escape route, add fuel to a fire and delay firefighting.

Fire doors

Your front door and doors on hallways or landings should be maintained as self-closing fire doors.

They must not be left propped open as this allows toxic smoke and fire to spread quickly and delay essential escape time. Regulation 10 explains the requirements.

Fire fighting equipment

This is specialist equipment that helps us to tackle fires quickly.

If you spot any damage, report it to your housing provider as soon as you can. They will arrange for repairs to be carried out.

Tips for safe escapes

  1. Make sure everyone in your home knows – and has practised! – the escape route.
  2. If any of your smoke alarms go off, never assume it is a false alarm.
  3. Shout ‘FIRE’ to alert other people in your home and block.
  4. Don’t waste time investigating what’s happened or rescuing valuables – remember, get out, stay out, shut the door behind you and call 999.
  5. Don’t try and tackle fires yourself – leave it to the professionals.
  6. Try and keep calm, and remember that sometimes it’s safer to stay put.
  7. Before you open a door check if it’s warm with the back of your hand. If it is, don’t open it – there may be a fire on the other side.
  8. If there’s smoke, keep low where the air is clearer.
  9. Help others who may be in difficulty on their way out.
  10. Call 999 as soon as you are safe to do so.
  11. Never go back into the building once you are safely outside.