Fire Safety

What can I do to prevent fire?

Most fires start through cooking, smoking or electrical faults including white goods. There is lots of valuable home fire safety information on the London Fire Brigade website. This includes how to register white goods so that in the event of known faults, the manufacturer can contact you.

You can also email or phone us to request a copy of our resident fire safety booklet which contains valuable tips on how to stay safe.

Does Poplar HARCA provide smoke alarms?

Smoke alarms save lives. You should fit one on every level of your home. If you are a tenant and don’t have these, please contact us and we will install wired-in smoke alarms for you. 

If you are a leaseholder, it is advisable to fit wired-in smoke detection on each level of your property. If you rent out your home this is likely to be required in order to obtain a landlord license. Battery smoke alarms with a ten year battery life can be purchase relatively cheaply from DIY or hardware stores. The London Fire Brigade will also fit a battery alarm free of charge if you sign up for a home fire safety visit via their website or by calling 0800 028 4428.

What do I do if there is a fire in my home?

  • get everyone out
  • close the door behind you
  • try to warn neighbours
  • use the stairs not the lift
  • leave the building and move a safe distance away
  • phone 999 from outside

What do I do if there is a fire in another property in my block? 

  • Ring 999.
  • In the event of fire in another property, it is generally safer to stay in your own home unless you are directly affected by fire or smoke in which case you should leave if you believe you can do so in safety. 
  • When the fire brigade arrive, they may choose to evacuate the block in a controlled fashion in which case, follow their advice.
  • If your home is affected but you are unable to leave the building:
    • call for help from a window
    • use towels and sheets to block smoke
    • if affected by smoke, stay as low as possible

My smoke alarm is chirping – what should I do?

This may indicate a fault but most likely a spent battery.

If you are a tenant, please contact our Repairs service.

If you are a leaseholder, it is your own responsibility to repair the alarm/change the battery. 

Is it safe to leave items in communal areas?

Because communal areas serve as escape routes they should be kept clear of anything that can burn or give off smoke. This is especially important when communal areas are enclosed as there is a risk of smoke logging. Bags of waste, buggies, shoes etc. should be kept inside homes. Bulk items such as furniture awaiting collection pose a particular arson risk and should not be left in communal areas.   

Is it safe to barbecue?

Never use a barbecue (including a disposable barbecue) on balconies, in indoor communal areas or inside your home. You will also need prior permission from us to barbecue in outdoor communal spaces. 

Position barbecues away from fences, trees or other combustible materials and never use flammable liquids such as petrol or spirits – solid fire lighters are safer. 

Have water, sand or a fire extinguisher to hand and keep children and pets away. 

Is smoking permitted? 

You can smoke in your home, but be especially careful to dispose of smoking materials safely.

Smoking is not permitted in the communal areas of Poplar HARCA residential blocks. This is a legal requirement introduced under Smoke Free legislation, so those doing so are breaking the law as well as engaging in anti-social behaviour.

Cigarette ends have the potential to start a fire if they land on anything combustible. If you smoke on a private balcony, do not drop cigarettes over the side of your balcony as this could result in fire on a balcony below you. If you smoke on your balcony, use an ashtray and dispose of smoking materials carefully as you would indoors.

If you are a Poplar HARCA resident, your tenancy or lease will be at risk if you are found smoking in communal areas. If you are the tenant of another landlord, we will press the landlord to take action which could also result in you losing your home. 

Can I store items on balconies?

If a fire breaks out on your balcony, it could spread much faster than a fire inside the building. Ideally you should keep your balcony completely clear, but plants and a few items of patio furniture are acceptable. 

Never barbecue on your balcony or store barbecue fuel such as gas cylinders, starter fuel or any other flammable substances.

White goods such as fridges and tumble driers must not be stored on balconies. They are not suitable for outdoor use and pose an ignition source.

I have a security gate. Is this safe in the event of fire?

The presence of a gate or grille can prevent the emergency services from reaching you quickly and could result in entrapment. The London Fire Brigade consequently recommends that they should be left unlocked at all times that residents are in the property. In case a gate is inadvertently locked, it is also advisable to keep a spare key in a designated location within the home and to ensure that all members of the household know where this is.

You should not fit security gates without expressing permission from Poplar HARCA. We have a right to remove them and re-charge you if you do.

How do I report fire or other safety concerns?

Phone us or send an e-mail outlining your questions or concerns so that the relevant team can get back to you. In the event of an emergency, always ring 999.


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