My Sandwell Login/Register

Fire Safety FAQ | Sandwell Council

You'll need photo ID to vote at a polling station at the local elections in May

You may already have a form of photo ID that is acceptable. Find out more about Voter ID and how to get free photo ID if you need it →

Fire Safety FAQ

What do I do if there is a fire in my flat?

Leave your flat and use the nearest escape route to exit the building. Do not use lifts. If safe to do so, close the door to the room where the fire started within your flat and close the front door to your flat when you leave.

This will limit the amount of fire and smoke that affects the rest of the building.
Do not waste time taking any belongings with you. Get out, stay out and contact the fire service by calling 999.

You may be advised by emergency services to move to another flat on another floor because you will be safe from fire and smoke there.

What do I do if there is a fire elsewhere in the building?

Stay in your flat if it is not affected by fire and smoke, unless you are advised by emergency services to leave.

If you are in a common area of the flat, it may be quicker and safer to exit the building through the nearest emergency escape route or make you way back to your flat if your flat is on a different floor to the fire floor and it is not affected by fire or smoke.

Why have I never heard the fire alarm in my building?

Our flats are designed in such a way that they do not allow fire to spread from one flat to another (known as compartmentation). This allows us to adopt a “Stay Put – Unless” strategy. 

To keep you safe, we ensure that each home has suitable and enough smoke / heat detection within each dwelling (you should test these on a regular basis).

Why can I see smoke detectors in my high-rise block?

It is common to see smoke detector(s) on the communal landing area as these a part of the automatic ventilation windows, that keep the area free of smoke.

Does the fire alarm also call the fire service?

None of the alarms automatically contact the Fire Service. If you believe that there is a fire you should dial 999 immediately.

Who do I contact with my fire safety concerns?

Normally any fire safety concerns should be reported in the first instance to the caretaking teams for your building. 

However, should you fail to be satisfied with any response from these teams you can also contact us at customer_services

You can also contact Sandwell Council’s Fire Safety Team on 0121 569 2975.

Something hasn’t been fixed and I think it is a fire safety issue.

See above response.

Who do I contact to make a fire safety complaint?

Please email customer_services and give us as much information as you can so that we can deal with your concern. 

You can contact the Council’s Fire Safety Team on 0121 569 2975.

You can also contact West Midlands Fire Service Fire Safety Team on 03300 589 000

You can also contact the Housing Ombudsman

Why can’t I charge my mobility scooter outside my flat?

Fires caused by mobility scooters can be large and difficult to extinguish.

A fire involving a mobility scooter within a common area/corridor could easily smoke log the entire area and affect many flats on that floor as well as potentially affecting other floors within the building.

Mobility scooters should be charged inside your own flat and, if possible, charged in a room in your flat with the door closed that has a smoke or heat detector.

Why can’t I store my personal items on my own balcony?

Any fire involving items stored on balconies could easily spread to upper floors and involve other flats.

Even if the fire were to start inside your own flat, it could then spread via the combustible balcony items to other floors

Why can’t I decorate my own flat front door?

Flat front doors are fire doors. Any damage done to the exterior of the door – such as putting in nails or other items – will affect how the door works in a fire.

If anything, that could catch fire is placed on the outside of the flat door, this could affect how the door work in a fire. 

Am I allowed to install netting or screening to my balcony?

No – netting, timber screening, panels or other screens can spread fire. 

Am I allowed to use or store a barbecue on my balcony?

No – the use of barbecues is a fire risk, thus which could put all the people in your block in danger. Do not store barbecues or bottled gas on your balcony. 

How to remove bird droppings from your property?

Bird guano in its wet form does not usually pose a danger, but if it’s been there a while it can start growing fungi and bacteria that can become airborne if dry, and cause respiratory problems if breathed in. It is there advantageous to cleanse the affected area in a timely manner.

To clean the area, we recommend beginning by spraying a disinfectant onto the areas needing to be cleaned. Not only will this loosen and soften the debris, it will also dampen down any dust that may fly around when you start removing it. Leave to soak in for a minute or two before scraping the larger areas of droppings into a bin bag. This process may need to be repeated several times. Respray again, scrape or use a stiff brush to further clean the area, and finally respray and wash down, wiping the area clean.

Wear old clothes, preferably long-sleeved tops, long trousers, waterproof shoes and gloves. You may also like to invest in a pair of goggles and a dust mask, particularly for a heavy infestation.

As far as cleaning equipment goes, buckets, brushes, scrapers, bin bags, plenty of water and maybe a shovel. 

Extra Information

If there is any information missing or would like to see included, please contact building_safety with your request.