Staying safe in
your home

We want you to feel safe and secure in your home. Read on for advice on carbon monoxide, gas and fire safety.

Keeping safe guidance

Asbestos

If your home was built before 2000, it may include materials containing asbestos.

Asbestos can be a health risk if disturbed and it is often safest to leave it where it is. If we know of any asbestos in your home, we’ll let you know so you can avoid disturbing it.

If you have any concerns about asbestos please contact us.

Carbon monoxide

Around 40 people in the UK die each year from carbon monoxide poisoning.

Carbon monoxide has no taste, smell or colour and can kill without warning in a matter of hours.

Signs to look out for

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning can be mistaken for flu. They include headaches, dizziness, feeling sick or very tired.

Look out for:

  • yellow or brown staining on or around gas appliances
  • rising condensation around windows
  • yellow-tinged pilot lights that often blow out.

Suspect a carbon monoxide leak?

Turn off the gas supply. Call the National Grid immediately on 0800 111 999. Open the doors and windows and leave your home. An engineer should arrive within an hour.

Fire safety

Any items stored on a balcony must be fire proof. Barbeques, fuel containers and gas bottles are strictly forbidden.

If you live in a flat and want to change your front door, contact us first. These doors need to be fire compliant. You’ll need permission from your council to replace any door that opens onto an internal communal area.

Keeping corridors clear and safe

We need to keep communal areas clear, so that fire exits aren’t blocked and everyone stays safe.

Please don’t store any personal items – including doormats, plants or shoes – in the corridors. These are a fire hazard, and we’ll remove them from communal areas.

Gas safety

If you smell gas or are worried about gas safety you can call the National Grid on 0800 111 999 at any time, day or night. Your call won’t cost a thing.

Gas safety tips

  • Never use a gas appliance that you think is faulty.
  • If there is a yellow or orange flame, soot or stains around the appliance, or the pilot light keeps going out, contact a gas engineer so they can check it’s safe.
  • Don’t cover appliances or block air vents or outside flues.
  • Don’t fit draught excluders or double glazing to rooms containing a gas appliance without providing further ventilation.
  • As a homeowner, you’re responsible for checking your gas appliances and supplies.

Water safety

It’s important that you have access to safe water, and aren’t put at risk of water-related diseases, such as Legionnaires’ disease. We’re responsible for making sure that the risk of exposure to legionella is properly controlled, but there are also measures you can take.

What is Legionnaires’ disease?

Legionnaires’ disease is a pneumonia-like illness. It can affect anybody and is potentially fatal, but rare in the UK. The infection is caused by breathing in small droplets of water contaminated by the bacteria. You can’t get it from drinking water and the disease can’t be passed between people.

Legionella bacteria can be found in hot and cold water systems in houses. The main areas of risk are where bacteria can multiply. They can survive low temperatures and thrive at temperatures between 20–45°C if the conditions are right. They are killed by temperatures above 60°C.

Anybody can catch Legionnaires’ disease, but it’s more likely to affect those who are older, who smoke, and those who are already ill or have low immunity or respiratory conditions.

Reducing the risk of legionella in your home

The risk of legionella causing illness is very low. Taking the following simple precautions will help keep you safe:

  • Run showers and taps for at least one minute before use if they haven’t been used for a few days.
  • Flush the toilet twice to circulate fresh water through the system and empty the cistern.
  • Keep all shower heads and taps clean and free from a build-up of limescale, mould or algae growth. Use sterilising fluid every 3-6 months.
  • Keep your hot water at a temperature of more than 60°C, but be careful of scalding.

Our responsibilities

We’re responsible for making sure that the risk of exposure to legionella is properly controlled in communal water supplies. We have a duty to assess the risk of exposure and implement appropriate control measures where required.

With larger premises, such as sheltered accommodation and blocks of flats where the water is managed centrally, we need to assess the risk of legionella bacteria in water installations or systems. Our responsible person will record the risks and precautions and review the assessment occasionally in line with detailed guidance provided by the health and safety executive.

We’ll prepare a plan for preventing or controlling the risk of legionella bacteria, including:

  • Water in the boiler and at each outlet point should be kept at a minimum of 60°C within a minute of running the water.
  • Shower heads and hoses used in common areas of the building should be dismantled, cleaned, and descaled regularly.
  • Any water units that are not regularly used should be flushed through regularly.
  • Communal cold water tanks are visually inspected regularly.
  • The water tank is insulated and fitted with a closed lid.
  • We check for debris and if necessary, clean and disinfect.