London Fire Brigade

Tenants

If you live in a purpose-built maisonette or flat your landlord must provide you with fire safety information, including an evacuation plan.

If any building refurbishment or redecoration work is done to your flat or building, or defects are identified that could enable fire spread, your landlord must update your evacuation plan, and let you know about any changes.

What to look out for in your building

Fire safety in all buildings is also dependent upon good maintenance and housekeeping.

In maisonettes and blocks of flats it’s essential that:

  • all flat front doors and doors on corridors and staircases must be ‘self-closing’ fire doors
  • fire doors must ‘self-close’ properly, and not be held or wedged open. They are designed to stop the spread of fire
  • things aren’t stored in corridors or staircases. This can block escape routes and stop firefighters doing their job. They can also feed the fire
  • storage on balconies is kept to a minimum 
  • everyone who lives in the building knows the evacuation plan. Are there signs that show you how to escape fire?

If you’re concerned about any of these things, contact your landlord.

What should I do if there’s a fire?


If your flat or maisonette is being affected by fire or smoke and your escape route is clear:

  • Get everyone out, close all windows and doors and walk calmly out of the building.
  • Do not use the lift.
  • Call 999, give your address, the number of your flat and state which floor the fire is on.

If there is a fire or smoke inside your flat or maisonette but your escape route is NOT clear:

• It may still be safer to stay in your flat or maisonette until the fire brigade arrives.
• Find a safe room close the door and use soft materials to block any gaps to stop the smoke.
• Go to a window, shout “HELP, FIRE” and call 999.
• Be ready to describe where you are and the quickest way to reach you.

If there is a fire in another part of the building:

Purpose-built maisonettes or blocks of flats are built to give you some protection from fire.Walls, floors and doors can hold back flames and smoke for 30 to 60 minutes.

  • You are usually safer staying put and calling 999.

  • Tell the fire brigade where you are and the best way to reach you. 

  • If you are within the common parts of the building, leave and call 999.

Why is it ‘usually safer to stay put’?


Our guidance to ‘Stay Put’, unless your flat is being affected by fire or smoke, is based on the fire protection provided in the building and the walls and doors of each flat.

This has been the case for many decades and, although fires in flats unfortunately occur throughout the country every day, the fire usually only affects the flat on fire. 

However, some smoke may enter corridors when the residents leave the flat on fire, or firefighters enter the flat to extinguish the fire. By ‘staying put’ it will reduce the risk of you entering a smoky corridor unnecessarily and potentially being overcome by smoke. It will also allow our firefighters to tackle the fire safely and quickly without being delayed by many residents evacuating down the stairways.