Household Tips

Fire Safety in your Home

While Grove tenants have a good fire safety record, it still makes sense to review your fire safety measures.

  • If there’s a fire, GET OUT, STAY OUT & CALL 999.
  • Closing doors really helps contain fire and smoke, making it easier to get out and limiting damage to your home.
  • Smoke & heat alarms – test them each week. They run on mains electricity but have a battery in case the power fails.
    – Vacuum inside them twice a year.
    – If they aren’t working tell Grove. If they are beeping, replace the battery yourself, or if you can’t do that tell Grove. (If you can’t stand the beeping, remember you have to push in the small lug before you can twist the head and take it off the ceiling fitting to access the battery compartment.)
  • Kitchen safety – keep electrical leads & items that can catch fire easily such as tea towels & oven gloves away from the cooker & toaster.
    – Keep appliances clean. A build-up of crumbs, fat and grease can easily catch fire.
    – Be very careful with chip pans. Don’t fill them more than a third full of oil. If the oil starts to smoke, turn off the heat and let it cool.
    – If a pan catches fire, turn off the heat if you can, close doors, get out and call 999.
  • Electrics – check for signs of loose wiring and faulty plugs or sockets such a scorch marks or flickering. Tell Grove.
    – Replace any worn or taped up cables or leads.
    – If you use an adaptor or gang extension lead, keep the total output running off that wall socket to 13amps.
    – Turn off switches when appliances are not in use.
    – Make sure that portable heaters will not fall over easily and that they are not near  anything that can catch fire.
  • Cigarettes – 50% of accidental fire deaths in N Ireland are caused by careless disposal of smoking material.
    – If you are likely to fall asleep, be very careful.
    – Don’t smoke in bed.
    – Use proper ashtrays & make sure that when you put out a cigarette, it is fully out.
    – Keep matches and lighters out of reach of children.
  • Candles – don’t leave them unattended.
    – Put them out completely at night.
    – Candles & tea lights can melt plastic surfaces so always put them on a heat resistant surface.
    – Keep them well away from anything that can catch fire.
  • Be prepared: make sure all your family know what to do in the event of a fire and how to escape safely. Plan escape routes and keep exits clear. Keep keys handy and know which upstairs windows are escape windows.
  • If a fire starts: if there is smoke, keep low where the air is clearer. Get everyone out as quickly as possible.
  • If your clothes catch fire: lie down & roll around (Stop! Drop! Roll!) or smother flames with heavy material.
  • If escape routes are blocked: if on the ground or first floor, throw out bedding to cushion a fall & lower yourself out a window. If trapped, block off gaps where smoke can get through to you and phone for help.

Fire escape windows

You will have one or more upstairs windows big enough to escape through in emergency. Please check they open and close properly and tell us if there are any problems. Also, do not block access to them with anything.

Bogus callers

Most people who call at your home will be genuine. Some however may want to trick their way in. PSNI advise:
– Lock your back door before answering the front.
– Use a door chain if you have one.
– Ask for and take a note of their identification. Get the person to wait outside and close the door. Phone “Quick Check” at 0800 013 2290. They will check the person is genuine with the company they claim to be from.
– If in doubt, keep them out!

Blocked drains & baby wipes

We once had to remove a golf club that was blocking a sewer, but a much more common cause is baby wipes, nappies and items like them. Please do not flush these down toilets as they do not disintegrate like toilet tissue and can cause blockages in yours or other peoples’ drains.

Damp or Condensation?

Condensation occurs when warm moist air meets cold surfaces and it can cause mould on walls and ceilings. The key to reducing it is ventilation. Some suggestions are:

  • Use your extractor fans when cooking or bathing. Leave windows partly open for a while after the fan is turned off.
  • Keep furniture a little out from walls to allow some air circulation behind.
  • Have some ventilation where clothes are drying.
  • Try to ensure all rooms are at least partially heated. It is better to have a small amount of heat for a long period than a lot of heat for a short time.

Run out of Gas or Oil?

If you run out of gas, you have to do the following at your meter to make it work again:

  • Put money/credit on your gas card
  • Insert the card into meter
  • Press & hold Black button (B) till the display says ‘LET GO’
  • Press the reset button on your boiler

If you run out of oil, the oil companies may bleed the system to remove any airlock if you ask them when they are delivering oil.

Winter Precautions

Hopefully we will not have seriously cold weather, but here are some suggestions just in case. If you are unsure about anything, please contact Grove.

Know where your stopcock is

  • This is normally under the kitchen sink and turning it clockwise turns off the mains water coming into the house. This is important if there is a leak anywhere. You may want to turn it off if you are going away in winter.

Preventing your pipes from freezing

  • If you are going to be away from home during a cold spell for holidays, or just at work all day, set your central heating to come on for periods during the day and night. To save energy, you could turn down the thermostatic radiator valves on each radiator so they do not heat rooms as much and you could turn down the thermostatic control on your hall or living room wall to about 12°. If you have water pipes and tanks in your roof space, leaving the trap door a little open would allow some warmer air in there. Doing these things should protect your home from water freezing and causing damage.

If pipes freeze

  • If they are central heating pipes, get our plumber’s advice before turning the heating on. If they are water pipes, turn off the stopcock and warm the pipe gradually starting at the tap end. Use a hot water bottle, a cloth soaked in hot water, or a hairdryer on its lowest setting.

If pipes burst

  • If the leak is serious, turn off the stopcock. If this does not stop the leak and you have a cold water storage tank or a hot water cylinder, turn on all your taps to drain them. Try also to catch water leaks with basins or towels. If water has come into contact with electrical fittings, make sure they are turned off.

Contact us

  • During office hours, contact us direct on 028 9077 3330. Out of hours, phone Fold Telecare on Freephone number: 0800 731 3081.