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Fire Safety information and advice for Sussex Housing & Care residents

Given the recent tragic news of the Grenfell Tower block fire, we want to do all we can to reassure our residents. The safety of residents is our number one priority. We have robust procedures and comprehensive controls in place regarding fire safety, which are reviewed and tested on a regular basis.

What Sussex Housing & Care has done and are doing right now

  • We have 100% FRSA (Fire Safety Risk Assessments) compliance in all of our properties.
  • We conduct a weekly fire alarm test at each property.
  • We talk about Fire Safety twice a year during residents’ coffee mornings at each property.
  • All of our employees are trained in fire safety.
  • We encourage visits from the fire service to each of our properties.
  • In light of the incident at Grenfell Tower, we are now carrying out a full review of fire safety in all of our housing schemes and care homes, which includes all associated policies and procedures across the organisation.

How you can help

  • Make sure you know your escape route in the event of a fire and what to do if it’s inside your home or elsewhere in the building.
  • Don’t leave items in communal areas such as hallways and stairwells, or obstruct escape routes.
  • Keep your balcony clutter free.
  • Don’t smoke in common areas of the property, and always fully extinguish cigarettes smoked in your home; disposing of them carefully and safely.
  • If you are a leaseholder make sure you have a working smoke alarm in your home. Test your fire alarm on a weekly basis.
  • Leaseholders can also request a free Home Safety Visit from their local Fire and Rescue Service. In some cases, they will also fit a free smoke alarm. Please contact your local service to book this, find details below:

East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service – call 0800 177 7069 or click here to download a home visit request form.

West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service – call 0845 8729719 (calls cost up to 7p per minute) or email jean.moore@westsussex.gov.uk. For further information, please click here.

Further advice from East and West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service

This advice is based on a ‘stay put’ policy, which is used in the emergency evacuation procedures we currently operate across all of our sheltered housing schemes:

  • If there is a fire inside your flat alert all the people in your flat and leave, closing your doors behind you. You should follow your escape plan and if there is lots of smoke, crawl along the floor where the air should be clearer.
  • Always use the stairs rather than the lift and call 999 as soon as you are in a safe place.
  • If there is a fire elsewhere in the building, the structure of your flat – walls, floors, doors – are designed to give you a minimum of 30-60 minutes’ protection from a fire. This will enable you to remain in your flat whilst the Fire Service deals with the fire.
  • If there is a fire in your building but not inside your own home, then you are usually safer to stay in your flat*. However if the heat or smoke from the fire is affecting you, you can leave via the stairs, if safe to do so. If it’s not safe to leave and you do remain in your flat, you should still immediately call 999 and tell them which flat you are in. The emergency services will then advise you what to do.
  • Once a 999 call is made and the firefighters arrive at the scene of the fire, they will take full control and manage the evacuation of the building. Listen and act on their advice.

*If you are already outside of your flat then please use the nearest emergency exit.

Fire safety in our care homes

In our care homes we follow the horizontal evacuation plan. This is where staff evacuate residents behind fire compartments away from the fire.

These are areas separated from each other on the same level by walls and doors that provide at least 30 minutes of fire resistance. If a fire occurs, residents can be moved away from the affected area to the adjoining protected area. The occupants may remain there until the fire is dealt with or await further evacuation to another similar adjoining area or down a protected route to total safety.

If you have any queries about fire safety, please speak to your scheme or home manager.