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Plan Ahead

  • Fit smoke alarms on each level in your home. For SBC residents, we will provide these for you. If your home currently has less than an alarm on every level, please contact us and we will arrange for the installation.
  • Make sure they work by testing your smoke alarm on a regular basis, ideally monthly, by pushing the test button. For our residents we can replace any malfunctioning alarm, if you find one is broken contact us as soon as possible and we will make sure it is replaced as soon as possible.
  • Make a fire escape plan, so everyone in your home knows how to escape. Make everyone familiar with the way out of the building.
  • Make sure everyone can easily find door and window keys.
  • Think about a room you can go to where you can be seen from outside.
  • Get into the habit of closing all doors at night.
  • Keep exits from your home clear.
  • Do not block access roads to your building. Plan ahead for a fire now.
  • Think how you and everyone will escape.

Not sure if your smoke alarms are safe?

To find out more information about electrical safety, detection or to request a visit from out electrical contractor, please email: or call 01438 242242 to speak to a member of the M&E team.

For information about electrical checks please see the Five-yearly electrical check page.


A free home fire safety visit from Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service is a good way to get expert advice on fire detection, and learn ways to stay fire safe. Visit the Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service website: Fire safety home visits, school visits and open days | Hertfordshire County Council.

What to do if there is a fire in your property or flat

  • Alert everyone in the flat and leave, closing doors and windows behind you.
  • Feel doors with the back of your hand. Do not open doors if they feel warm - fire is on the other side.
  • Do not look for the fire or try to put it out.
  • It is important that you close door behind you and if in a flat close your main flat entrance door on your way out.
  • If it is safe to do so, make your neighbours aware of the fire.
  • Don’t use the lifts - only use the stairs.
  • When you are out of the building and can find a phone, call 999 (or 112 from a mobile phone) - don’t assume someone else has done it.
  • Do not re-enter the building.
  • Call the fire service even if it is a small fire.

If fire breaks out in another flat or communal area

If there’s a fire elsewhere in the building, you are usually safe in your own flat with the doors and windows closed. This is a Stay Put Policy (advice on staying put/simultaneous evacuation).

However, it is your choice if you wish to leave or you are affected by heat or smoke.

Only do this if it is safe to do so - if you cannot get out safely, stay in your flat.

Stay by the window where you can be seen.

Place damp towels or bedding around any door frames to prevent smoke entering the room.

Alert the fire service by phoning 999 and tell them where you live, your flat number, the floor level and whether or not you are still in the building.

If you discover a fire in a communal area you should leave the building. Once safely outside call the fire service. A few flats in Stevenage have red fire alarm call points in the communal areas - break the glass on your way out of the building – you will still need to call the fire service once outside.

How to prevent common fires

Kitchen fires

Take extra care when cooking and avoid the use of deep fat fryers. Distraction is also a common cause of kitchen fires.


Switch off appliances at night and buy appliances from trustworthy sources. It is recommended that you register your appliances on the Register my Appliance website. If possible don’t leave appliances on when you go out.


Use only the fixed heating system in your home. Be careful how you use portable heaters – use only a convector heater in your hallway. Do not use gas, paraffin, or electric bar heaters.

Electrical sockets*

Don’t use adapters to overload sockets. Have no more than one plug in each socket. The Council will periodically inspect fixed electrical wiring to ensure it is safe.

Cigarettes and candles

Stub out cigarettes and dispose of them properly. Keep smoking materials hidden and out of reach of children. Make sure candles are in a fireproof holder and don’t light them near children, pets, curtains or other fabric. All candles should be extinguished when leaving the property and when going to bed.


Put all rubbish in the bins provided and ensure any bin-room doors are closed behind you.

Gas appliances*

If you have a gas boiler, ensure the council is given access to service and maintain it annually. 

*Leaseholders are responsible for gas and electrical safety regulatory compliance within their property

Deliberate fires

Arson is a cause of fires. Where possible keep where you live secure and keep communal areas clear of combustible items.

You can find more information about fire safety in our Fire Safety Policy