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A guide to fire safety in houses and two-storey flats

If in doubt - get out and call 999

Sunderland City Council (SCC) is committed to putting the safety of its tenants first.

This leaflet contains information about how to ensure your safety in your home, as well as advice on what to do in the event of a fire emergency.

What do I do if a fire breaks out in my home?

  • do not attempt to put the fire out
  • leave the room where the fire is immediately, then close the door behind you
  • alert any other people in your home and get everybody out. Close the front door of your home behind you
  • go to a safe place away from your home
  • do not re-enter your home until the Fire Service say it is safe to do so

What if I am trapped by the fire?

  • try and stay calm
  • get everyone in one room, with a phone and open the window to breathe fresh air
  • ring the Fire Service by calling 999, or shout to alert people
  • use bedding or clothing to block the bottom of the door to the room you are in to stop smoke getting into that room and stay together until the Fire Service arrive

When it is safe to do so, call the Fire Service

  • upon discovering a fire and when safe to do so you should call the Fire Service - dial 999
  • when the operator answers ask for 'FIRE', and provide details of your address and telephone number
  • do not end the call until the operator has repeated the address

Testing your smoke detector

  • you should test your smoke alarms every month, by pressing the test button on the alarm
  • once a year you should gently vacuum clean the smoke alarm
  • if your smoke detector is not working please contact us on 0191 561 2715

The fire safety of your home is extremely important and in signing your Tenancy Agreement with SCC, you have agreed to:

  • Section 6.1 - You must take proper care of your home and report any faults or damage to the council immediately. If arrangements have been made for the council to come to your home to carry out a repair you must keep the appointment or inform us as soon as possible if the appointments needs to be rearranged
  • Section 6.2 - You must not carry out alterations or additions either inside or outside your home without first obtaining our written permission
  • Section 6.4 - You must give the council reasonable access to your home to carry out any repairs, improvements, servicing or inspections. The council will take legal action if you unreasonably refuse to allow access into your home for these purposes
  • Section 6.6 - You must give the council access to your home to carry out an annual gas service and periodic electrical installation condition inspections
  • Section 7.15 - You must keep all gullies, entrances to drains, external airbricks and vents clear and free from obstruction
  • Section 7.16 - You must keep any shared areas free from obstruction. You must co-operate with the council in keeping any shared areas clean, tidy and safe
  • Section 7.7 - You must keep the property in a good state of internal decoration and cleanliness and keep outbuildings and passageways in a clean, tidy and safe condition
  • Section 7.8 You must not allow an excessive amount of belongings (hoarding) to accumulate in your home so as to create a fire risk/danger to yourself or other persons
  • Section 7.9 You must dispose of your rubbish properly in line with the council's requirements. This includes any bulky or unusual items
  • Section 7.30 - You must not keep gas storage bottles or store any dangerous, inflammable or explosive materials either inside or outside your home, or in sheds or outbuildings

As your landlord, we will ensure that we:

  • Section 4.5 - The council will repair the structure and exterior of your home and the building of which your home may form part
  • Section 4.6 - The council will repair and keep in proper working order any installations within your home for space heating, water heating and sanitation and for the supply of water, gas and electricity. This includes:
    • basins, sinks, baths, toilets, flushing systems and waste pipes (but not other fixtures, fittings and appliances for making use of the supply of water, gas or electricity)
    • electric wiring including sockets, switches and light fittings (excluding bulbs)
    • gas pipes, water pipes, water heaters, fitted fires and central heating installations
  • Section 4.7 - the council will maintain and repair any shared areas around your home

We will use only competent people to maintain and carry out repairs for all fire safety work and ensure repairs are carried out promptly. Please report any issues or repairs promptly by calling our Repairs and Maintenance Team on 0191 561 2715 or email

What if I still have a question?

If you have any further queries about fire safety in your home, please contact us on 0191 561 2715 or email and we will be happy to help.

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