26 Feb 2015

A question about : Sheltered Housing

Hello everyone, I hope this is the correct forum for my problem/question.

We live in a mixed sheltered housing scheme made up of flats and bungalows. We're in a bungalow. When we moved in 10 years ago the kitchen was fitted with a fire extinguisher and a fire blanket. I understand that the flats were similar.

Now the HA are taking both away. The extinguisher and the blanket.

The flats have up to date fire alarms with direct contact to the fire station. The bungalows do not. The advice for bungalows is to leave immediately closing the door behind you then raise the alarm. How, they don't say since you're outside and the phone isn't. Nor do they mention what to do if someone's clothing catches fire. If someone in that condition went outside it's just as likely that the wind would fan the flames and they'd be worse off.

They seem in full on bully mode because we happened not to be available when they came to collect it. My question is, can they force us to give up our fire equipment? Should they equip ups with an alarm that rings at the fire station? or how to object.

Does anyone have any ideas please?

Best answers:

  • They probably regard providing fire fighting equipment as encouraging you to fight fires - Not what the Fire Service advise these days.
  • If it is the same equipment that has been there for 10 years, would it still be adequate anyway?
    It sounds to me like you need to ask formally to be included in what seems like a pretty sophisticated system which will, no doubt, be serviced regularly.
    What is to stop you buying your own blanket and extinguisher like many people, without the benefit of your new system, would have to do anyway? You could ask for help with this if money is an issue.
    I accept that we are talking about sheltered housing but it would seem appropriate to me that you take some measures yourself if you feel that the advice isn't safe. A mobile phone (modified for your needs) could be something to think about too, in order to contact the fire service.
    What would other people do if their clothing was alight? Not something I have thought of really but whatever the solution, it could surely be applied to anyone, in any housing situation.
    I take it you have made sure your bungalow has fire/carbon monoxide alarms appropriately placed whether provided by the HA or by yourself. These are completly necessary in my opinion.
  • Ask you local council/HA for their guidelines as regards fire safety in sheltered accommodation.
    They should have one.
    Here is an example.
    If they haven't then you could ask for a fire risk assessment to be made.
  • I omitted to mention that up until now the HA has arranged for the equipment to be serviced regularly. I suppose unless you've actually seen someone with their clothes on fire you wouldn't think about it, but a fire blanket would be the thing to use.
  • I don't think that my fire blanket would be big enough to go around anyone. I think of it as being for putting over something, e.g. on the cooker, that is on fire.
    Years ago, they used to say you should wrap someone up in a rug should they be on fire.
    The whole thing is horrible to think about but I think you need to get advice directly from the fire service. I think they do offer this though not too sure.
  • Fire services offer a free advice session when someone from the service comes to your home and assesses for danger spots.
    I'm well over 55 years old and having a visit on Monday from my local fire service. I requested it online and got a phone call the same day. I believe they also supply at least one free smoke alarm if needed.
    We have a CO monitor because of the woodburner so having both will hopefully be enough to alert us to any danger in good time.
    My thoughts are that with the costs of maintaining firefighting equipment the budgets are being squeezed tight. I hope you can get your problem resolved soon.
  • In my house I have five smoke alarms (one on each floor including cellar and attic and an extra one in the enclosed alleyway, and three CO alarms (one in the kitchen where the boiler is, one in the room with the woodburner and one near the bedrooms). I also have a fire extinguisher and a fire blanket in the kitchen. None of these things cost a great deal and quite often the fire brigade will give you smoke alarms for free.
    However, as well as having one smoke and on CO alarm (unless you are all electric), as a minimum, I would aslo ask to be included on the scheme where the alarm goes straight to the fire brigade.
  • Why are you obsessed with some ones clothes catching fire? Post 2 above gives the answer, but if you do want the security of a fire blanket you can always buy your own cheaply enough.
  • Sheltered accom, now advice is to remain in your flat unless the fire is there in which case evacuate. Don't stop to get things, don't attempt to tackle the fire and await advice from fire authorities if fire is not in your own flat. Don't use lifts. Your flat doors should be one hour fire check. If you have any fears or concerns, give your local fire brigade station a ring and they'll send someone around to survey your place and give you advice. At the moment the most important piece of kit is going to be your fire/smoke alarm. Might be a good idea to get a demo or instructional talk about fire from the experts.
  • We made an enquiry at the Fire Station once about fire safety and were given three smoke alarms. Came in quite handy, as we already had sufficient in our house, so we took them to our house in Spain, that we had at the time.