Tips and advice to keep you safe

We are committed to ensuring you live in a safe, functional and comfortable environment. Here’s a quick guide to the main things you can do to stay safe.

Asbestos

Asbestos was widely used in the construction industry from the 1950s through to the mid-1980s. It can be found in many buildings and was used in a variety of building materials. Left undisturbed, asbestos poses little danger; therefore it should not be cause for concern. However, we would like to remind you not to make alterations to your home (including drilling into walls, ceilings and floors) without prior approval.

Electrical safety

If your electricity isn’t working and you think an appliance caused the problem:

  • Disconnect that piece of equipment
  • If your home has a fuse box, turn off the mains switch and check that the right fuses have been used
  • If your home has circuit breakers rather than a fusebox, turn off the mains and reset the circuit. Don’t keep replacing a fuse, or resetting the circuit breakers without correcting the fault.

If the problems continue and you can’t find the fault, please contact us. If you get an electric shock from either a switch or a socket, please contact us immediately. You must not use the switch or socket, and you should turn the circuit off at the fuse box or circuit breaker.

Our top tips for electrical safety are:

  • Limit the number of items you plug into one socket
  • Check flexes and plugs regularly to make sure they are not damaged
  • If fuses keep blowing or you get an electric shock from an appliance, get a qualified electrician to check the equipment for you. If it’s an appliance we have provided, please contact us immediately.

Fire Safety

While it is not possible to cover all eventualities, the following advice is useful to follow to make you and your family safer:

  • Fit a smoke alarm and test it regularly
  • Take care when cooking. Don’t start cooking if tired, and don’t leave a cooker unattended
  • Plan an escape route and make a bedtime check
  • Don’t overload electrical sockets
  • Don’t smoke when you’re tired or going to bed. The majority of cigarette related fires occur when falling asleep
  • Use candles carefully. Again, if feeling tired, extinguish candles before falling asleep
  • Contact your Fire and Rescue Service for a home fire safety visit.

If you live in a high-rise building, a block of flats or a sheltered scheme special fire procedures will be in place – you will be told about these when you move in.

Gas safety

Faulty gas or solid fuel equipment can be dangerous. It leaks an odourless gas called carbon monoxide, which if breathed in, can kill.

Carbon monoxide poisoning can happen if:

  • The appliance was not installed correctly
  • The equipment isn’t working properly
  • The appliance has not been checked for safety and maintained regularly
  • There isn’t enough fresh air in the room
  • Your chimney or flue is blocked
  • Unqualified trades person installing/servicing the appliance.

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include tiredness or drowsiness, headache, chest pains and stomach pains. If you notice yellow or orange flames, soot or stains around the appliance or your pilot light often blows out, this could mean a problem – make sure you let us know immediately.

If you think a gas appliance in your home isn’t working properly, don’t use it. Never cover up appliances or block the vents. And don’t cover or block the outside flues.

Servicing

To keep you safe, we will service all homes with gas or solid fuel at least once a year. Please make sure you let the engineer in to do this important job. This work is essential to ensure your appliance works safely and efficiently and we would ask that you make every effort to allow access to the engineer when your service is due. If you fail to allow access we may have to consider legal action to gain access to your property.

Smoke alarms

If you have a smoke alarm in your home, test it monthly to make sure it is working. You must also keep it clean and dust free, or it may not work if there is a real fire.

Smoke alarm testing and maintenance

You should press the test button on your smoke alarm once a month to ensure it is working. When the low battery warning signal sounds, you should replace the battery immediately. The low battery beep will sound every minute for up to 30 days when the battery needs replacing.

It is your responsibility to ensure regular cleaning of the detector and changing of batteries, where applicable. If you think your smoke alarm is faulty, please contact us.

Smoke alarms for the ‘Hard of Hearing’

Working with Social Care Direct, we can arrange for an initial assessment for any tenant who may have a hearing impairment and to make a recommendation to the fire service to provide a specialist smoke alarm. For more information please contact your housing officer.

Security

Some useful security tips:

  • Keep your doors and windows locked
  • If an unknown visitor calls at your home, always check their identity. All Karbon Homes staff and partners carry identification. Never let anyone in unless you are sure who they are
  • If your house is empty, use timer lights or ask a friend or relative to pop in and check on it
  • Never leave your keys under the doormat or in any other obvious place
  • Always lock your garden shed
  • Log serial numbers of your personal belongings, especially televisions, DVDs, cameras and computers.