Making sure that you're safe in your home is really important to us, because we know that feeling secure, comfortable and confident is key to people's mental wellbeing and happiness.
We've provided some key safety tips here, but please remember that you are responsible for keeping your home safe and secure.
- Use proper candle holders and keep lit candles well away from anything that could catch fire, such as curtains.
- Use a snuffer or a spoon to put out candles, it’s safer than blowing them out as sparks can fly.
- Never leave children or pets alone with candles.
Cigarettes, matches and lighters
- Stub cigarettes out properly and dispose of them carefully.
- Never smoke in bed.
- Use a proper ashtray, never a waste paper basket/bin.
- Make sure your ashtray can’t tip over and is made of a material that won’t burn
- Don’t leave a lit cigarette, cigar or pipe lying around. They can easily fall over and start a fire.
- Take extra care if you smoke when you’re tired, taking prescription drugs or if you’ve been drinking.
- Keep matches and lighters out of the reach of children and consider buying child-resistant lighters and matchboxes.
- Don’t leave electric blankets folded as it can damage the wiring. Store them flat or rolled up instead, always remember to look at the manufacturer's recommendations for storage.
- Unplug blankets before you get into bed, unless they have a thermostat control for safe all-night use.
- Don't buy second hand blankets, and check regularly for wear and tear.
Portable heaters such as Calor gas or electric fan heaters
- Keep portable heaters of any kind away from flammable materials such as curtains and furniture, and never use them for drying clothes.
Plugs and appliances
- Always check that you use the correctly rated fuse to prevent appliances from overheating.
- Check for a British or European safety mark when you buy new appliances, and don’t buy fake or counterfeit goods.
- Try and keep to one plug per socket. Certain appliances such as washing machines should have a single plug to themselves, as they require a large amount of power to operate.
- An extension lead or adaptor will have a limit to how much electrical load it can take, so be careful not to overload them.
- Use and maintain appliances in accordance with manufacturer's instructions
- Check for signs of dangerous or loose wiring such as scorch marks, hot plugs and sockets, fuses that blow or circuit breakers that trip for no obvious reason, or flickering lamps/lights.
- Visually check appliance cables and leads and seek advice from a qualified electrician if these appear damaged.
- Unplug appliances when you are not using them or when you go to bed at night.
- Always make sure furniture has the fire-resistant permanent label.
- Take extra care if you need to leave the kitchen when cooking - take pans off the heat or turn them down.
- Make sure pan handles don’t stick out so they don’t get knocked off.
- Take care if wearing loose clothing as it can easily catch fire.
- Keep towels and cloths away from the cooker or hob.
- Spark devices are safer than matches or lighters to light gas cookers because they don’t have a naked flame.
- Double-check the cooker is off when you’ve finished cooking.
- Keep electrics (leads and appliances) away from water.
- Check toasters are clean and placed away from flammable materials such as curtains.
- Keep the oven, hob and grill clean and in good working order. A build-up of fat and grease can ignite a fire.
- Don’t put anything metal in the microwave.
Free fire home safety visits
Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service will come and do a free home fire safety visit to help you identify potential fire risks. They can also give advice about how to prevent or contain fires. You can book a visit from them by calling 0115 967 5948. These visits are completely free and you may also be eligible for a free smoke alarm.
If you live in a flat, whether it's high rise or low rise, we advise that you familiarise yourself with the fire notices in your block.
- Read about Fire Safety in Flats.
- Learn more about evacuating in an emergency, including how to make a plan in advance.
- Request your block's Fire Risk Assessment
- Hear what your fire alarm sounds like.
- Find out more about how sprinklers save here.
- Please email our High Rise Building Safety team if you have any questions or concerns about safety in your high rise block.
Relay, the UK's emergency text service allows deaf, hard of hearing, and speech-impaired people to send a text to 999, where it will be passed to the emergency services.
How does it work?
By sending a text to 999, you can call for help and the emergency services will be able to reply to you. A Relay assistant will speak your message to the 999 advisors and their reply will be sent back to you as a text, and so on.
How to register
You MUST register your mobile phone before using Relay Here's how:
- Text 'register' to 999
- You will receive a reply explaining how it works. Please read through this.
- Text back 'Yes'
- You will receive a text confirming your registration for relay.
Check your smoke alarm every week by pressing the test button. Don’t climb to reach it – you can use a sweeping brush, a garden cane or a walking stick. Don’t, under any circumstances, check the alarm using a naked flame, and never disconnect your smoke alarm - smoke alarms save lives.
If you discover a fire:
- raise the alarm by calling 999
- leave by the nearest safe exit as soon as possible.
- Don’t tackle fires yourself, leave it to the Fire Service
- Keep calm and act quickly, get everyone out as soon as possible
- Don’t waste time investigating what’s happened or rescuing valuables
- If there is smoke, keep low where the air is clearer. Before you open a door, check if it’s warm. If it is, don’t open it – the fire is on the other side
- Raise the alarm by calling 999 as soon as you are clear of the building or,
- Raise the alarm by sending a SMS message to 999
- Do not return to your home until instructed by the Fire Service
What to do if your escape is blocked
- Get everyone into one room, ideally with a window and a phone
- Put bedding or similar across the bottom of the door to block out the smoke
- Phone 999 or send an SMS for the Fire Service, or if there's no phone, open the window and call “HELP! FIRE!”
- If you’re on the ground floor, you may be able to escape through a window. Use bedding or similar to cushion your fall and lower yourself down carefully
- If you can’t open the window, break the glass in the bottom corner. Make jagged edges safe with towels or blankets
What to do if your clothes catch fire
- Don’t run around, you’ll make the flames worse
- Lie down and roll around, it makes it harder for the fire to spread
- Smother the flames with a heavy material, like a coat or blanket.
By law, we must service your gas boiler and fire(s) once a year. We must also check that your gas supply and the supply pipes to your gas cooker are safe. Having your gas cooker serviced is your responsibility.
We’ll write to you with an appointment that will be either in the morning or the afternoon. If you need to rearrange the appointment for a more convenient day or time, please ring the number on the letter or email us. Appointments are available Monday to Saturday.
Please work with us to keep your gas servicing up to date. It’s a condition of your tenancy that you have to let us in to do the service - if you don't, we’ll have to take court action to get access, and you’ll have to pay the court costs.
What you can expect when your gas safety check is due
- We’ll write to you between 10 to 14 days before your appointment, to give you notice. When we write, we’ll give you an appointment date and let you know whether we'll be coming in the morning or the afternoon, and we’ll tell you how to get in touch if you have any concerns or need to change your appointment.
- We’ll text you a few days before the appointment, to remind you that we’re coming. On the day of the appointment we'll give you a call to let you know we're on our way and answer any questions you might have.
- When our gas engineers get to your house on the day, they’ll knock on your door, then step back two metres. They won’t be wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) at this point. When you come to the door, they’ll ask questions about anyone self-isolating in your home.
- If both you and the gas engineer are happy that the appointment can go ahead, they will put on the appropriate PPE, and they’ll request that you go into another room while they carry out the check. This is for your safety and theirs.
- The safety check will last around 40 minutes and you will not need to sign anything or handle any paperwork. Once the check is complete, the engineer will leave your home, and will remove their PPE ready for disposal.
How you can help
- Please be in when we come to do your gas service
- If you have a problem with your appointment, please email us.
If you smell gas:
- turn the gas off at the meter
- open doors and windows
- call National Gas FREE on 0800 111 999 or Textphone 0800 371787. If they tell you that there’s a problem with a council-owned gas appliance, please phone us on 0115 915 2222 to arrange a repair.
- turn light switches or other electric switches on or off, or use an intercom
- light cigarettes, lighters or matches.
Carbon monoxide can kill. You can’t see or smell it, but if you breathe it in you’ll get tired and dizzy, maybe with a headache and chest pain.
If you have a carbon monoxide alarm, test it regularly. Don’t paint it or cover it up.
If the alarm sounds, or if you have any worry about carbon monoxide escaping, call the National Gas Emergency Freephone Service on 0800 111 999 straight away.
Switch off all your gas appliances and open doors and windows.
When you move in, we’ll tell you where the consumer unit and mains electrical switch are in your home.
You should unplug electrical equipment if you’re not using it, particularly when you’re going to bed.
You should also make sure you use good quality plugs that are properly wired and fitted with the correct fuse.
- use an appliance with a damaged lead
- use plugs or sockets that are chipped or cracked
- run an appliance from a light fitting
- overload sockets with adaptors
- hang clothes over a storage heater or gas fire.
Legionnaires’ disease is a serious infection of the lungs and is caused by Legionella bacteria. Infection is caused by breathing in tiny droplets of water contaminated by the bacteria. The disease cannot be passed from one person to another, and drinking water is highly unlikely to cause infection.
Everyone is potentially susceptible to infection but some people are at higher risk, for example, those over 45 years of age, smokers and heavy drinkers, those suffering from chronic respiratory or kidney disease and people whose immune system is impaired.
Where are Legionella bacteria found?
Legionella bacteria are common in natural watercourses such as rivers and ponds. Since bacteria is widespread in the environment, they may contaminate and grow in other water systems such as hot and cold water services.
They survive at low temperatures and thrive at temperatures between 20-45°C if the conditions are right, for example, if a supply of nutrients is present such as rust, sludge, scale, algae, and other bacteria. They are killed by high temperatures.
How do people get it?
The agent that causes Legionnaires’ disease is a bacterium called Legionella pneumophila. People catch Legionnaires’ disease by breathing in tiny droplets of water suspended in the air, which contain the bacteria.
Certain conditions increase the risk of legionella:
- water temperature that is suitable for growth: 20-45°C
- a source of nutrients for the organism, for example, sludge, scale, rust, algae, and other organic matter
- a way of creating and spreading breathable droplets, e.g. the aerosol created by a tap, shower head or toilet.
However, remember that most people exposed to Legionella do not become ill.
What are the symptoms?
The symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease are similar to the symptoms of the flu:
- high temperature, feverishness, and chills
- muscle pains
- headache, leading to pneumonia.
- very occasionally diarrhoea and signs of mental confusion.
What can I do to reduce the risk of Legionella?
We recommend you run all your taps and your shower for a couple of minutes each week to prevent the build-up of harmful bacteria. We also recommend you clean your shower-head every month to prevent the build-up of limescale.
To clean shower-heads, remove your shower-head from the wall. Fill a bowl with neat vinegar and let the shower-head soak in it for a few hours. Leave overnight if it’s especially badly scaled. Then scrub the holes with a toothbrush. If the holes are still clogged or green, use a toothpick or pin to clean them out. Rinse well and put the shower-head back where it belongs.
Gold or brass finished shower-heads are coated to protect them from oxidation. If you use anything abrasive, you can ruin the finish on your fixture. Do not let your fixture soak for more than 30 minutes at a time. If you soak the shower-head any longer, the finish on your fixture could be damaged.
Legionella may be present in your water system if you have been away from your home for a period of time - for example if you've been on holiday or had a stay in hospital.
Legionella, if breathed in through the inhalation of water vapour, can be harmful and lead to Legionnaire’s disease that can be fatal.
Before using your water supply please do the following to make sure you’re safe:
All taps – Place a tea towel over the tap and run water through the tap for two minutes. The tea towel will protect you from breathing in water droplets splashing back from the sink. Repeat this for all hot and cold taps.
Showers – Place a plastic bag over the shower-head and secure it using something like an elastic band. Cut a small hole in the corner of the bag for water to escape and run the shower for two minutes. The plastic bag will prevent any spray and protect you.
Toilets – Put the toilet lid down and flush the toilet. Always flush the toilet with the lid in the down position - the toilet lid will protect you from the spray. This will bring fresh, safe water into your water system.
How is it treated?
The illness is treated with an antibiotic called erythromycin, which must be prescribed by your doctor or a hospital.
What to do if you think you have contracted Legionnaires’ disease?
If you develop the above symptoms and you are worried that it might be Legionnaires’ disease, see your doctor. If you are diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease please make your local housing office aware.
Because it is similar to the flu, it is not always easy to diagnose. A blood or urine test is needed to determine whether an illness is, or is not Legionnaires’ disease.