Health and Safety
How to stay safe in your home
You can find key information about how to keep you and your property safe by downloading our handy guide using the link below or by clicking on the Q&A section at the bottom of this page.
If you suspect there is a gas leak you should immediately do the following:
• call National Grid’s Gas Emergency freephone number:0800 111 999
• open all the doors and windows
• shut off the gas supply at the meter control valve (if you know where it is)
House Fires – GET OUT, STAY OUT AND CALL 999!
• Don’t tackle fires yourself. Leave it to the professionals.
• Set off the fire alarm if there is one.
• Keep calm and act quickly, get everyone out as soon as possible.
• Don’t use the lift.
• Don’t waste time investigating what’s happened or rescuing valuables.
• If there’s smoke, keep low where the air is clearer. If available, use a dampened cloth as a mask to avoid smoke inhalation.
• Before you open a door, check if it’s warm. If it is, don’t open it – fire is on the other side.
• Call 999 as soon as you’re clear of the building. 999 calls are free.
Clothes on fire – STOP, DROP AND ROLL!
• 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 a blanket.
Blocked escape routes
• If you can’t get out, get everyone into one room, ideally with a window and a phone.
• Put bedding around the bottom of the door to block out the smoke, then open the window and call “HELP FIRE”.
• If you’re on the ground or first floor, you may be able to escape through a window.
• Use bedding to cushion your fall and lower yourself down carefully. Don’t jump.
• If you can’t open the window, break the glass at the bottom corner. Make jagged edges safe with a towel or a blanket.
If you are concerned about fire safety you can call a free 24 hour fire safety advice helpline:
Making your home safe and be prepared
Here are some tips from the Fire Brigade:
• Fit smoke alarms – for £5 it could save a life.
• Keep your smoke alarms free of dust and test them once a week.
• Make a fire action plan so everyone in your home knows how to escape if there is a fire.
• Keep the exits from your home clear, so that people can escape.
• Make sure everyone in your home can easily find keys for doors and windows.
• Get into the habit of closing doors at night. If you want to keep a child’s bedroom door open, close the doors to the lounge and kitchen, it may well help save their life if there is a fire.
Prevention – most common fire hazards
In the Kitchen
• Take extra care in the kitchen – accidents while cooking account for over half of fires in the home.
• Never throw water on a small kitchen flames. Use a wet tea towel to smother the fire.
• Never leave young children alone in the kitchen.
• Take extra care when cooking with hot oil and consider using a deep fat fryer as this is controlled by a thermostat.
• Don’t overload electrical sockets.
• Don’t leave the TV or other electrical appliances on standby as this could cause a fire.
• Always switch off and unplug electrical appliances when they’re not in use.
• Keep electrics away from water.
• Don’t put anything metal in the microwave.
• Never leave lit candles in rooms when nobody is there or in rooms where children are on their own.
• Make sure candles are in secure holders on a surface that does not burn and away from materials that could burn.
• Make sure cigarettes are stubbed out properly and disposed of carefully and never smoke in bed.
• Keep matches and lighters where children cannot see or reach them.
• Take special care when you are tired or when you’ve been drinking.
Often we do not realise that we are causing a fire hazard. These examples can increase the risk of fire:
• Leaving a push bike in the corridor of a block of flats
• Storing a pram in the stairwell
• Putting your rubbish in the communal hallway overnight before collection
It is equally dangerous to store rubbish or other inflammable materials outside against the walls of your home or next to any garden or boundary fencing.
All these hazards are easy to avoid. By keeping communal areas and stairwells clear and disposing of rubbish properly, you are helping to keep you, your family and neighbours safe.
Electricity can be dangerous – on average, every week someone in the UK dies in an electrical accident in their home.
Almost half of all domestic fires are caused by electricity.
Protect yourself and those you live with by following these simple steps:
• Regularly check the condition of plugs, cables and extension leads.
• Be careful when using hand-held electrical appliances and ensure that they are switched off and unplugged when you have finished using them.
• Remove plugs from sockets carefully. (Pulling out a plug by the cable puts a strain on the terminations which can be dangerous.)
• Check that any adaptor used complies with British Standards and is adequately rated for the connected load.
• Have your electrics checked regularly (at least every 10 years). Tenants must allow Ocean to enter your property to carry out scheduled checks. Shared Owners and Leaseholders must ensure they have their electrics checked every 10 years.
• Use an RCD (Residual Current Device) when using electrical equipment outdoors.
• Use a registered electrician to carry out electrical work in your home.
• Bring mains powered portable appliances into the bathroom.
• Overload sockets and adaptors, particularly with high current appliances such as kettles, iron and heaters.
• Use adaptors plugged into other adaptors.
• Use any electrical equipment or switches with wet hands.
• Wrap flexible cables around any equipment when it is still plugged in.
• Clean an appliance (such as a kettle) whilst it is plugged in, and especially not with a metal knife – there are often live parts inside!
• Fill a kettle or steam iron whilst it is plugged in.
Rubbish can become a health, fire and pest hazard. If you let it build up inside or outside your home, it will attract pests and could even cause a hazard in the event of a fire… it could even be the cause of a fire.
Here are a few tips to managing rubbish and preventing pest invasions:
Regular Rubbish Collection
• Please check when your bin collection day is and put out your rubbish in the bins provided to ensure your rubbish is collected regularly.
• If your rubbish doesn’t all fit in the bin, make sure bags aren’t put out until the morning of the collection day (not overnight) otherwise they may be torn open by pests and end up all over the street.
• Wash out packaging and tins for Recycling. For more information about Cornwall’s recycling services, visit the Cornwall Council website.
If you want to find when your waste and recycling is collected, please visit the Cornwal Council website and click on the ‘My Area’ on the top right and enter your postcode when prompted.
• Keep in mind that mice can get through a gap as small as 10mm, store all your rubbish in a dustbin with a securely fitting lid, and make sure the lid is replaced each time it is used.
• Leaving food waste on the ground will attract pests like rodents, foxes, ants and cockroaches so clear up spillages.
Large waste items
Large waste items like furniture or building materials can be inviting for rats and mice who will use it for nesting. Visit Cornwall Council’s website for information about Bulky Waste disposal.
Leaving waste to pile up in communal areas and corridors can be a fire hazard and block someone’s escape in the event of a fire. Please keep these areas free of rubbish and consider those around you.
If you think there is an infestation in yours or an adjacent building you will need to call a local pest control service yourself.
The Council offers advice on their website and Environmental Protection advice line.
0300 1234 212
Environmental Protection website