Following recent incidents in tenement stairs and drying areas, the Digital Sentinel’s Craig Tyrie spoke to Crew Manager Bruce Nisbet of Community Safety function at Sighthill Fire Station about what can be done to prevent a fire occurring in a common stair/drying area:
What can tenants do to help ensure that they are playing their part in reducing the likelihood of a fire starting in a common stair?
You can reduce the risk of fire, for yourself and your neighbours, by keeping common stairs clear and free from obstruction and making sure the main entrance doors are kept closed and secure. Steps should be taken to ensure the door entry/intercom system is maintained and in good working order. People should not leave rubbish or bins in the common stairwells of tenement blocks, as this can attract fire-setters and increase the risk of fire. Discarded items of furniture and rubbish can produce large amounts of toxic smoke as well as impede access for emergency responders.
The community may be aware of who is responsible for lighting fires. Who can they pass information to?
The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) work in partnership with many agencies to keep the community safe from fire. Any information regarding deliberate fire-raising can be passed to the Police, on 101, or to Crimestoppers, on 0800 555 111. The City of Edinburgh Council have a role to play in Anti-Social Behaviour. They can be contacted on 0131 527 3800 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
What if a fire does start in a common stair?
It is important that you know what to do if a fire does occur in the stairwell and how to keep safe. As a starting point:
Keep doors closed to prevent smoke filling your house.
Dial 999 and ask for the Fire and Rescue Service, giving as much information as you can.
I would like to stress the importance of having a working smoke alarm. Every household should have working smoke alarms and test them every week. We provide free home fire safety visits and fit smoke alarms, where required. If you know someone who could benefit from this service, why not get them to give us a call? It is important that you know what to do if a fire does occur in the stairwell and how to keep safe. We can advise on this as part of the visit. Call the SFRS on our free-phone number, 0800 0731 999, or contact your local fire station. A wide range of tips on how to keep yourself and your home safe from fire are available on the SFRS website: www.firescotland.gov.uk
What if the smoke alarm in my tenancy is not working or missing?
Rented properties must have working, mains-operated smoke alarms. If a smoke alarm is not working, or is missing, please contact your landlord or landlord’s property management.