Report a fire risk

If you see something that you think might be a fire hazard or you are concerned about someone’s safety in case of a fire, you can report it.

This page will give you guidance on when and how to report something to us, when we can help and how you can make an impact yourself.

If you see a fire risk or hazard

Things you can do

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If you see a potential fire risk you can report this to us. However, it may be possible to get it put right before getting us involved. These are some steps we suggest you take.

1. Speak to someone involved

You could speak to the person in charge of the premises or the building owner or their representative. If you have a concern at your workplace you could speak to your employer, your union or your employee representative.

If you're concerned about a neighbour or family member's home then you could speak to them and offer support. You may want to recommend they book a home safety visit. This is where we will come and check their home for fire risks and give them safety advice.

2. Check who to report an issue to

There are some fire safety issues that we're not able to help with. Before getting in touch you should check who the right person is to report an issue to. This may be your local authority or the Health and Safety Executive. See our section on where to get help for more information. 

3. Educate yourself on what businesses should be doing

You can check what businesses should be doing for fire safety by reading our guidance on fire safety law. The government has also put together fire safety guides which will help you.

4. Report your concern to us

If you have tried speaking to someone involved and have checked this is something we can investigate - please get in touch and report your concern to us.

What you can report to us

You can report concerns about a premises within Devon and Somerset. We treat all reports of fire risk confidentially and you do not need to give your name, just details of what is concerning you.

Typical examples of things people report to us include:

  • blocked or locked fire exits or fire escape routes whilst the building is in use
  • fire alarm not working or can't be heard properly
  • there appears to be a risk of fire occurring, or a fire has occurred and the fire and rescue service were not called
  • staff do not appear to know what to do in the event of a fire.

How to report a fire safety concern

To report concerns about fire safety in a property:

If the issue you are reporting cannot wait until office hours to be dealt with, or could genuinely endanger life or property, please call 999 and report it to us.

Concerns about a friend or relative

If you are concerned about a friend or relative and need fire safety advice please call our home safety team on 0800 05 02 999.

Our helplines are open Monday - Friday (9am-5pm).

What we can't help with

We won’t always be able to look into your problem. This could be because:

  • it’s something we’re not responsible for
  • you haven’t given us enough information for us to make an assessment on what is wrong, who is doing it, where and what law applies
  • we decide that it is not a problem that we should take up.

We can’t help you get compensation or help you take someone to court.

We have guidance on who to contact if it's something e.g. hazardous materials, that we aren't responsible for.

Where to get help

Guidance on who to contact if it's something e.g. hazardous materials, that we aren't responsible for. 

Rented or shared accommodation

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If you have a concern about the communal areas of your building, such as stairs and corridors in a block of flats, and you feel that your landlord is not complying with the law, you can report this via firesafetyhelpdesk@dsfire.gov.uk.

Our enforcement powers do not cover individual private homes where people live. This includes individual flats and mobile homes. If you have a concern about the living areas of a rented property, you should contact your local authority.

Construction sites

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Fire safety concerns relating to construction sites or shipyards should be directed to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) or local authorities if they inspect the premises.

For other types of health and safety issues and enforcing authorities visit the HSE's guidance on enforcement agencies.

Places outside Devon and Somerset

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If your concern or query relates to a property outside this area, you should seek advice from the appropriate enforcing authority. In most cases, this will be the nearest fire and rescue service.

Hazardous substances

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Fire safety concerns relating to the storage of hazardous substances or process risks should be directed to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) or local authorities if they inspect the premises.

For other types of health and safety issues and enforcing authorities visit the HSE's guidance on enforcement agencies.

Bonfires

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If someone is burning bonfires regularly this may be considered a nuisance. Check your local council website for their information on how to report nuisance bonfires.

Do not call us to report someone having a bonfire unless it is an emergency.

Storage of fuel

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If you're concerned about how someone is storing fuel you can report this to the Health and Safety Executive. If you are concerned about the immediate risk of fire, please let us know by contacting our risk team.

Concerns about a neighbour or family member

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If you are concerned about a friend, family member, or someone you care for and their risk of fire you could talk to them about our free home safety visits.  

A friendly fire safety technician will visit them in their home to give advice and guidance without judgement or embarrassment. 

If you would like further advice please call our home safety team on 0800 05 02 999.

Bad parking

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You may be concerned about how people are parking in your local area and it stopping a fire engine from getting to your house. 

In these situations, it may be helpful to speak to those involved and highlight your concerns. You could also try contacting your local council or the police for advice. 

We do not have any parking enforcement powers but we work closely with the police and occasionally visit areas to check access.