Safety FAQs

In December 2019, a new EWS1 Form, or External Wall Fire Review Form, was introduced. It is intended to record in a consistent and universal way what assessments have been carried out on the external wall construction of residential buildings. This is where the highest floor is 18 metres or more above ground level or, where specific concerns exist.

For more of your EWS1 questions answered, click here.


You should test your smoke alarm as often as possible, but certainly at least every month. This can be done by pushing the small test button on the front of the unit. Please don’t climb on a chair to do this, units can be tested by using something like a broom handle which can be used to push the test button. The unit should sound the alarm and any other alarms linked to it will also sound. You should do this for all of the smoke alarms in your home.

Our smoke alarms are mains powered, but also have a battery back up. When the battery gets low it makes a little bleep a bit like a cheeping bird every few minutes, this means the battery needs replacing. Please contact us in the usual way and we will come out and replace the battery in the unit.

There are fire actions around the building that indicate what steps you should take in a fire, these vary from scheme to scheme so it is important you familiarise yourself with these notices, remember if you feel threatened by heat or smoke you should leave immediately and get to a place of safety and call the fire service using 999.

If the fire alarm is going off due to a false alarm, then our engineers will need to come and reset it. Please call us at the earliest opportunity so we can get the engineer to the scheme as quickly as possible.

Livewest and the Fire Service do not want you fighting a potentially dangerous fire yourself, the best thing to do is leave the building immediately and call the emergency services on 999.

Fire safety legislation requires us to carry out regular fire risk assessments.
We carry out regular servicing to make sure that fire equipment is not damaged and working correctly.
We visit the scheme regularly to ensure there are no fire risks in the communal areas.
We work with the fire authorities and local councils to make sure all fire safety requirements are met and kept up-to-date.

If your building was built before April 2007, fire regulations do not state that a sprinkler systems needs to be installed.
Blocks of flats built since April 2007 must have sprinkler systems if the building is 30 metres or taller – this is roughly equal to ten storeys or higher.

You must not keep any items in the communal hallways.
If you live in a shared block, please make sure you have removed anything you may have left in the hallway, landing or other shared space.
Wherever possible, to help, we will provide storage for essential items such as mobility scooters and prams.
We’re doing this to keep you safe. In the event of a fire, we want you to be able to leave your building easily and for the emergency services to do their work without tripping over.

Contact your housing officer who will be able to take action.

You can contact us in the usual way that you would for a repair or using our social media channels.

No, these safety measures, which push the door closed behind you, are vital in protecting you, your family and your neighbours in the event of a fire. These door closers prevent fires from being able to spread through the building.

If a fire breaks out on your balcony it will spread much faster than indoors, due to the unlimited supply of oxygen and fire spreading due to the wind. We want you to enjoy the use of your balcony but we want you to do so safely. You can reduce the risks by:
•    Keeping the number of items on our balcony to a minimum by removing any combustible items and materials. These include items such as storage boxes, small balcony sheds, tins of paint, electrical appliances, plastic children's toys and other clutter.
•    Not using barbecues, fire pits or patio heaters. Fires caused by these types of items can spread very quickly to the balcony above and below or into your property via open doors or windows.
•    Not smoking on your balcony. However, if you choose to, then it is really important you do not drop cigarettes on or over the side of your balcony. Cigarettes should be fully extinguished in an ashtray or bucket of sand/water.
•    Not storing gas cylinders (or other items containing flammable liquid) on your balcony as there is a risk it may explode if left in direct sunlight.
•    Never using or storing fireworks on your balcony.
If your balcony is a communal area it may be a fire escape route and therefore should be kept clear of any items at all times. This will allow you and your neighbours to evacuate safely if you need to do so.

Stay-put policies are recommended by fire brigades for purpose-built blocks designed to contain fires. If the fire is not in your home, but in another part of the building, you will be safer staying in your home unless the heat or smoke is affecting you. Homes with a stay-put policy are designed to hold back flames and smoke for up to 30 minutes.
If there is a fire or smoke in your home, get everyone out and leave the building as calmly as possible, closing the door behind you and not using the lift. Once you’re outside, call 999.
If your home operates an evacuation policy, you should leave the building in the event of a fire no matter which part of the building it is in. Go to a place outside, which is away from the building, and dial 999.
Check your fire action notice for details of which policy is used in your home.

Arson is the number one cause of fire in the UK and there are several steps you can take day-to-day to ensure your building is safer.
•    Close bin stores and don’t leave items outside which may attract arsonists.
•    Make sure that doors are closed behind you when you leave your property.
•    Be vigilant and report any suspicious behaviour to your housing officer, the customer service centre or the police.