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Covid-19 Update from the Borough Commander – London Fire Brigade, Haringey

London Fire Brigade continues to provide a full emergency fire and rescue service response for Londoners. Their priorities are to do all they can to stop the spread of this virus, to protect the public, staff and safeguard our resilience.  The Brigade has contingency plans in place which are constantly being monitored and they’re confident that they can maintain a good level of service to London despite the challenges Covid-19 may present.

Please visit the London Fire Brigade website, where a useful lockdown safety check list is available: (external link) (external link)

Please ensure you follow Government advice.  The London Fire Brigade is busy maintaining our service to you. You can help by staying home and staying safe.


Fit smoke alarms and test them monthly

A fire can start anywhere in the home so early detection is vital. Fit smoke alarms in your lounge / living room, bedrooms, landings and hallways and fit a heat alarm in the kitchen.

Examples of fire risk are rooms where:

  • Electrical equipment is left switched on or on charge
  • People smoke
  • Candles, incense sticks or naked flames are used
  • Portable heaters are used.

A fire can start anywhere in the home so early detection is vital.  It is important to ensure smoke alarms are fitted in the right place – don’t fit a smoke alarm in the bathroom as steam can cause false alarms. Always follow the manufacturer’s fitting instructions.



The best and safest option is not to smoke – it is harmful to your health and is the most common cause of fatal fires. For help or advice on quitting contact Smokefree National Helpline on: 0300 123 1044.

If you are not ready to quit, take these simple precautions to prevent a fire:

  • Smoke outside and always make sure cigarettes are put right out
  • Never smoke in bed or anywhere you could fall asleep
  • Do not leave any type of lit cigarette or pipe unattended
  • Use proper ashtrays and never throw hot ash into the bin
  • Keep matches and lighters well out of the reach of children.

If you have switched to vaping as an alternative, remember to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Always use the correct charger and never use an e-cigarette if it is damaged in any way.



Never leave pans unattended when cooking. Don’t cook if you are tired, have been drinking alcohol or taking medication that might make you drowsy. Never use a BBQ on a balcony.

If the pan does catch fire:

  • Don’t tackle the fire yourself or try to move the pan
  • Never throw water onto it as this can create a fireball
  • If you can do so safely – turn off the heat
  • Leave the room and close the door
  • Shout to warn others to get out, stay out and call 999.


  • Never overload electrical sockets
  • Don’t leave items on continuous charge
  • Keep electrical appliances clean and in good working order
  • Only leave essential appliances switched on such as the fridge or freezer. Turn all other electrical items off when they are not in use.


  • Sit at least one metre away from heaters
  • Keep heaters well away from anything that can catch alight and never use them to dry clothes.


  • Candles, tea lights and incense should only be placed in stable, heat resistant holders
  • Keep them away from materials that may catch fire such as curtains, furniture, papers and clothes.

 Sleeping Routines 

  • Close all doors as this helps to prevent fire and smoke spreading
  • Switch off and unplug electrical items such as TVs
  • Avoid charging devices like mobile phones when you sleep
  • Make sure candles are out before you go to bed
  • Check your cooker and heaters are turned off.

Escape Plans

  • Make an escape plan and practise it regularly to make sure everyone knows how to get out safely
  • The best route is the normal way in and out of your home
  • Plan a second route in case the first one is blocked
  • Never store anything in communal areas including balconies. Items can block your escape route and be a fire risk
  • Always keep door and window keys where everyone you live with can find them.

Escaping a Fire 

  • If any of your smoke alarms go off, follow your escape plan, get out and call 999
  • Shout ‘FIRE’ to warn others and don’t stop to pick up valuables
  • Check closed doors with the back of your hand. Do not open the door if it feels warm – the fire may be on the other side
  • Smoke can kill, get down as low as possible where the air will be clearer
  • If your escape is blocked by fire it may be safer to stay put until the fire brigade arrives. Close the door and use soft materials to block any gaps to stop the smoke. If you have a phone, call 999, go to a window, shout “HELP, FIRE” and wait to be rescued.

If you live in a Flat or a Maisonette

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

  • Get everyone out, close the door 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 and your escape route is NOT clear:

  • It may 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.

Page Last Updated:

20 April 2020