Broadland is supporting Norfolk Fire & Rescue Service in reminding tenants in flats and buildings to keep all communal passages and corridors clear of clutter.
In an emergency, these areas are escape routes but they are often blocked by waste bags, bicycles, prams, mobility scooters etc.
In the run up to Christmas, Broadland is working with Norfolk Fire & Rescue Service to promote the public safety message about keeping exit routes clear. The advice applies to all types of homes with hallways, landings, staircases and porches. Keeping them clear offers an easier escape route in an emergency, as well as helping to reduce slips, trips and falls.
Councillor Margaret Dewsbury, Chairman of Norfolk County Council’s Communities Committee, said:
The problem often worsens over the winter, as other items are left in such areas, including winter footwear and Christmas trees. Items such as tables are also moved outside into communal areas to make way for Christmas trees in homes.
If a fire were to start in a communal space which is full of clutter or storage, the escape routes for the residents could prevent or hinder the safe evacuation of people leaving the building. Such items also invite the risk for a deliberate fire being started.
Items blocking escape routes could also affect the speed the fire service would be able to resolve the fire as well as blocking firefighters rescuing the occupants.
If any Broadland Housing tenant has concerns about clutter/storage in their means of escape, or any other fire safety concerns, they should talk to their Neighbourhood Officer.
Norfolk Fire & Rescue Service are also highlighting the fire risks associated with Christmas decorations, following a house fire in Norfolk last week.
Garry Collins, Head of Fire Prevention and Protection at Norfolk Fire & Rescue Service, said:
We want all Norfolk residents to have a safe and prosperous Christmas. There are a few things people can do to help reduce the risk of fire. This includes switching off festive lights at night, not overloading plug sockets, not leaving cooking appliances unattended and taking extreme care with fireplaces and any candles.
Last Thursday two Norfolk residents were taken to hospital suffering smoke inhalation following a fire in their home caused by Christmas decorations being ignited by a gas lighter, which was being used to light a candle. Thankfully the fire was extinguished quickly and only affected the lounge. The residents had kept their internal doors shut as part of their night time routine.
The occupants were surprised at how quickly the fire took hold. Christmas decorations made from combustible materials quickly ignited. This fire could have been much worse if it wasn’t for the prompt actions by the householders.
Contact Norfolk Fire & Rescue Service’s Community Safety Team, Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, on 0800 917 8137. Find more details from Norfolk Fire & Rescue about fire safety in the home, including booking a home fire risk check and planning an escape route.