Every year hundreds of people die or are seriously injured in house fires. Fire can start within seconds and spread quickly. Every household should have an escape plan. Follow the tips below to prepare yours:
- Plan your escape route now
- Practice your escape route as a family
- You only have seconds – don't stop for valuables
- Shout to alert your family
- Keep low if the house is full of smoke
- Remember the air is clearer and cooler near the floor
- Don't investigate – keep doors closed
- If there’s no way out, get everyone into a safe room
- Never jump straight out of a window
- When you are outside stay out and dial emergency services 999
- For free advice on fire safety call Scottish Fire and Rescue Service on 0800 0731 999
Your home is full of electrical appliances which can be dangerous if not used properly.
Follow these general tips to keep you and your home safe:
- Unplug all small appliances when not in use
- Never use appliances which have damaged cables
- Never use electrical appliances near water
- Keep electrical appliances and their cables out of the reach of children
- Do not overload your sockets
- Switch off and unplug hand held electrical equipment
You should test your smoke alarm every week and fit a new battery if it doesn’t work. If your alarm starts bleeping from time to time you need to fit a new battery.If your alarm still does not work after you have fitted a new battery contact the housing repairs helpline who will arrange for someone to replace or fix your faulty alarm.
You are responsible for ensuring that the battery in your alarm works. It is advisable that you change the battery in the alarm once a year, even if it is still working.
Special needs smoke alarms can be installed after a medical assessment. Ask your neighbourhood housing office for more information or to request an assessment.
Gas safety and carbon monoxide
Every year around 50 people in the UK die and many more become ill from carbon monoxide poisoning caused by faulty gas appliances. The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 place a duty on the Council, as your landlord, to ensure that gas appliances, fittings and flues provided for tenants’ use are safe.
Our Gas Safe registered gas engineers or appointed contractors carry out an annual gas safety check on all gas appliances within your home and service the gas central heating and appliances we are responsible for. A copy of the Landlord's Gas Safety Record will be issued to you. We also inspect and service gas appliances in vacant houses before they are allocated.
It is essential that you allow access to your home to enable us to carry out the annual safety checks. You will receive seven days notice of this visit.
Water can freeze inside pipes during cold weather causing the pipes to expand and crack, when the ice melts the water leaks out causing damage to the building and your furnishings (see Home Emergencies and Frost Precautions and Tenants Contents Insurance).
Follow these simple precautions if the weather is cold, or could soon become cold:
- Leave heating on a low setting if your home is going to be empty overnight or for a day or two
- Make sure that some heat reaches any water tanks in areas such as lofts or cupboards by leaving the loft hatch or cupboard door slightly open
If you are going away for a few days it is wise to leave your lights on a timer switch so that it appears that someone is home. Set them at different times for different rooms.
Give a key to someone you trust so they can keep an eye on things for you and collect your mail.
Callers to your home
If you have a door chain and door viewer you should use them every time you answer the door. There is no need to feel embarrassed about refusing to let callers in. Ask what the caller wants and always ask for identification. If a Council employee calls at your home they will have formal identification.
If you are unsure about the caller, telephone their company for confirmation, making sure you have closed and secured the door. Remember the genuine caller will wait. Don’t be taken in by someone just because they are wearing a uniform and that includes the Police and your housing officer.
Be wary of all callers including women and children - after all, what does a thief look like?
Be wary of tradesperson who may call and say that your house is in need of repair.
Tell them it is Council property and then call the Police and your neighbourhood housing office.
Criminals may try to distract you with an excuse while an accomplice steals your valuables. Excuses could range from a sick child to a lost pet, or even asking for a drink or to use the toilet.