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Home safety

How to keep you and your home safe

Select a heading below to find out more about different aspects of home safety.

Gas appliances must be serviced regularly they can become dangerous and can kill.  If your gas appliance has not been checked for 12 months it may be unsafe. You may also be in breach of your tenancy agreement. 

  • make sure you have an annual gas safety check. 
  • check for warning signs your appliances aren't working correctly eg lazy yellow or orange flames instead of crisp blue ones, black marks on or around the appliance and too much condensation in the room. 
  • know the six signs of carbon monoxide poisoning - headaches, dizziness, breathlessness, nausea, collapse and loss of consciousness. 
  • have an audible carbon monoxide alarm.  This will alert you if there is carbon monoxide in your home.  
  • never carry out any gas works yourself.  

Smell gas?  

  • turn off all gas appliances immediately 
  • Do not create a flame or operate electrical switches (including light switches) 
  • open all doors and windows 
  • put out any naked flames including cigarettes 
  • turn off the gas supply by closing the handle of the control valve next to your gas meter 
  • do not switch on the lights or any electrical appliances until the National Gas Emergency Service tells you the fault is repaired. 

Don't use a landline or mobile phone in the affected property, leave the property before calling the National Gas Emergency Number on 0800 111 999 (24 hours). 

It doesn't matter who your gas supplier is. Always call the National Gas Emergency Service (24 hours) to report a gas or carbon monoxide emergency. 

More information

View our gas safety policy

Pipes can freeze when it gets very cold and in some cases burst, causing flooding and damage to homes. 

What to do if a pipe bursts 

  • turn off the water at the stopcock  
  • switch off the electricity at the mains  
  • switch off any water heaters 
  • switch off the central heating 
  • open all taps to sinks and the bath to let the water drain away  
  • if possible, collect water in the bath for flushing the toilet and for washing 
  • warn your neighbours if there is a chance they may be affected  

If it is an internal pipe, contact us 0300 119 3000

If it is a mains pipe please contact your local water company

Simple things you can do to stop pipes freezing  

Find the stopcock and check the pipes  

Find out where your stop cock is located.  It's fitted to the pipe bringing water into your home and is often under the kitchen sink, but not always.

Also check the pipes - if there are any you think need insulating, please contact us on 0330 119 3000 or email housing.repairs@waverley.gov.uk

Going on holiday? 

If you are planning to go away for more than a day or two leave the heating on low to prevent the property becoming cold and to prevent water pipes freezing.  

If you have an outside tap, turn off the supply (it should have its own stopcock) and open the tap so that any water in the pipe can drain away. 

Smoke alarms

  • if your smoke alarm is expired or due to expire, we will replace it for free. Also let us know if you cannot see an expiry date so we can check it.  
  • if you do not have mains powered smoke alarms in at least three rooms we will install more for you for free. 

Report a repair

Steps to reduce the risk of a fire in your home.  

  • test smoke alarms once a week
  • keep exits from your home clear and keys to windows and doors in each reach 
  • keep communal areas, corridors and staircases clear of large items such as Prams, bikes or large plant pots as these could get in the way of people evacuating the building, and could also fuel a fire  
  • accidents while cooking account for over half of fires at home. Don't leave children alone in the kitchen 
  • don't leave candles unattended when lit 
  • don't smoke in bed 
  • close all doors at night to help prevent the spread of fire 
  • don't overload electrical sockets 
  • switch off and unplug your TV and other electrical goods - leaving them on standby could cause a fire. 

If the building you live in has a communal area we carry out regular fire safety checks  

You should familiarise yourself with the 'Fire Evacuation' or 'Stay Put' action plan for your respective property. 

More information 

Click here for more tips on fire safety at home  

View our Fire Safety Policy 

Some of our homes were built when asbestos was still in common use.  Asbestos can be found in: 

  • artex ceilings 
  • floor tiles 
  • fire surrounds 
  • fire protection in airing cupboards 

There is no risk from asbestos if it is in a good condition and left alone.  Once disturbed and its dust gets into the air there a possible risk to health. Do not tamper with or touch any asbestos material.  

Contact us for advice on 0330 119 3000 

Or see our asbestos in the home page

I think I've found asbestos what do I do? 

  • Do not attempt to clean it up or repair it yourself 
  • Do not brush or vacuum as this will spread the fibres into the air 
  • Contact us for advice

Carrying out major works on your home? 

If you are planning major works to your home you need to ask us.  If you think asbestos is present please contact us for advice.  If alterations are of your own undertaking, any costs of removing asbestos will be yours. 

Planning some DIY in your home? 

You should be careful when carrying out any DIY work. Using power tools can increase the number of fibres released into your home. You should tell us before starting any work, so that we can provide asbestos information. 

Thinking of decorating? 

Artex and other textured ceilings may contain asbestos. Do not try to remove them especially with power tools.

More information 

View our Asbestos Policy  

You can also find out more about asbestos safety in your home on the HSE website 

Look after the water system in your home to prevent possible illness such as Legionnaires' disease. 

What is Legionnaires' disease? 

Legionnaires’ disease is a form of pneumonia that can be fatal.  You can get it if you inhale water droplets contaminated by Legionella bacteria. 

It is rarely a problem at home as most households do not store large volumes of water where Legionella bacteria can grow. 

Legionella bacteria are safe in very small quantities.  However, they can grow to an unsafe level if water systems are not looked after.  They live in water and soil and can sometimes enter a home's water system. 

Higher risk groups 

Some people may be more vulnerable to Legionnaires' disease.  

  • over 45s 
  • smokers and heavy drinkers

and those suffering from: 

  • chronic respiratory disease 
  • kidney disease 
  • diabetes 
  • lung or heart disease 
  • an impaired immune system  

Tips to prevent growth of Legionnaire bacteria 

Make sure hot water is hot and cold water is cold and water systems are flushed through regularly. 

  • set your boiler or water heating system to around 60° C - it should feel hot to the touch but not scalding
  • ensure your cold water comes out cold 
  • run showers for at least two minutes a week to flush them out.  Don’t forget to keep clear of the water flow whilst doing this 
  • use all taps at least once per week to prevent water standing in the pipes 
  • descale and disinfect shower heads at least every three months 

If you've been away for more than a week, run all your taps for a few minutes before using the water.  Also run the water in the shower - remove the shower head beforehand so water droplets are not created.  If you cannot remove it cover it with a towel while you run the water. 

The likelihood of contracting illness such as Legionnaires' disease is very low, however, it can be fatal.  

When to contact us 

  • If the cold water tap is still running warm after you have run the tap for one minute. It should not be above 20°C. 
  • there are problems with water flow, debris or discolouration in the water and your water supplier is not working on the mains in the area.  
  • the boiler or hot water tank is faulty, so that the water is not hot enough. Hot water should be 50°C after the tap has run for one minute, this will feel hot to touch but not scalding. 

Please email: housingcustomerservices@waverley.gov.uk or call 0330 119 3000 

More information 

View our Legionella Policy