Fire safety at home

In the event of a fire in your home, an escape plan can save your life.  

The safest fire procedure for your home depends on what kind of building you live in. It is vital you know the fire evacuation plan for your building and where the exits are.  

The London Fire Brigade has advice on what to do if you live in a: 

If you are a council tenant or leaseholder, contact your on-site caretaker or housing officer for more information about your evacuation plan. If you are a private tenant in Camden, contact your landlord.

Fire safety video: how to keep safe in your home

London Fire Brigade Borough Commander David George shares some important information on fire safety precautions in your home. 

Remove fire hazards

If you store personal belongings in shared areas, they could prevent people from getting out safely during a fire. 

If you have large items you need to get rid of, find out how to book a bulky waste collection. You can also call 020 7974 4444, selecting option 4 and then option 3. 

Smoke alarms and safety checks 

All homes must have a working smoke alarm. You are 4 times less likely to die from a fire in a home where a smoke alarm is fitted.

Smoke alarms have 10-year batteries and are designed to be easy to use with a ‘hush’ button for false alarms. If your alarm stops working, the London Fire Brigade will replace it for free.

All Camden residents can request a free home fire safety visit from the London Fire Brigade

During your visit, they will: 

  • fit free and additional smoke alarms, if you need them 
  • replace any broken equipment 
  • give advice on preventing fires 
  • assess your home for fire risks 

Visits are targeted in areas and situations where there is a higher risk of fire. This includes homes of older or disabled people.

There are also alarms designed specifically for people with hearing or visual impairments, such as an alarm that activates a strobe light or vibrating pad for the hearing impaired. These are also installed free of charge.  

Advice to keep you safe

To help prevent fires from happening, you should: 

  • avoid leaving your hob or grill unattended while in use 
  • take care when cooking with hot oil and think about using automatic deep fat fryers 
  • never leave lit candles unattended 
  • make sure cigarettes are stubbed out and disposed of carefully 
  • never smoke in bed 
  • do not overload sockets and follow advice on electric devices that can cause fires
  • keep matches and lighters away from children
  • never use a barbecue indoors or on a balcony 
  • keep clothing away from heating appliances 
  • take special care when you are tired or when you've been drinking 

The London Fire Brigade website has more fire safety advice

Electric bikes, scooters and wheelchairs 

Fires caused by lithium batteries are increasing. Storing and charging electric bikes, scooters and wheelchairs safely can mean the difference between life and death. 

Never block exits and doorways with your e-bike, scooter or wheelchair. This could prevent you from leaving your home quickly in an emergency.  

It is vital that you keep your vehicle near an existing smoke alarm, or fit a new one in the area where you keep it. You can get a free alarm from the London Fire Brigade. 

How to use lithium batteries safely 

  • only buy batteries from a trusted seller to make sure they meet safety standards 
  • follow the manufacturers’ instructions to charge the battery and unplug the charger when you’ve finished using it 
  • charge batteries on hard flat surfaces so that they don’t overheat 
  • never leave a battery charging when you’re asleep or away from home 
  • check batteries regularly to make sure they are in good condition – they can be dangerous if they have been damaged 
  • keep batteries out of sunlight and put them somewhere cool, especially on hot days 
  • leave the battery to cool down after you have used your vehicle before charging again 

The London Fire Brigade has more information about lithium batteries and how to keep yourself safe

Gas cooker recall 

Beko is seeking some older models of Beko, Flavel and Leisure gas cookers that can pose a serious risk to your health.

The affected models were manufactured before 2009 and could produce fatal levels of carbon monoxide if using the grill with the door closed.

You can check if your cooker is affected.

Fire safety for waste and vehicles

Refuse skips and wheelie bins

  • place skips at least 10 metres from buildings
  • ensure that rubbish is placed in the skip and not left on the ground nearby
  • waste packing and pallets should be removed as soon as possible
  • full skips should be removed as soon as possible
  • do not leave full skips over weekends or holiday periods
  • do not block fire exits
  • ensure skips are placed in a designated area
  • do not store combustible waste within two metres of any perimeter fences

Fires in wheelie bins can spread to surrounding property

  • do not overfill wheelie bins or place loose rubbish around them
  • wheelie bins should only be put out when a collection is due

Vehicle fires

Secure and safely parked vehicles are the best way to prevent fires because:

  • 65% of car fires are started deliberately to cover criminal activity, make a fraudulent insurance claim or as an act of vandalism
  • one in 12 vehicles reported stolen will be set on fire

If you spot an abandoned vehicle, you should report it to the police. Most Metropolitan areas operate a vehicle removal scheme. 

Safety checks for vehicles

Many other vehicle fires break out simply due to lack of basic maintenance and can be prevented.

Some of the main causes of vehicle fires are:

  • electrical: check wiring for signs of wear or damage
  • petrol: routinely check all fuel lines for signs of wear
  • welding: never use heat, naked flames or welding equipment near the fuel tank or fuel line