People living in Sheffield City Council flats are being urged to allow access to their homes for important fire safety work.

Households who have the work can also benefit from a free fire safety check to make sure they know how to keep themselves and their families as safe as possible.

Council contractor Kier Services will carry out fire safety improvements in over 18,000 low rise flats and maisonettes across the city over the next four years.

Work will include the upgrading of fire doors, fitting smoke seals to existing doors and putting fire-stopping measures on pipes that serve multiple flats.

Sheffield Council and Kier Services are working in partnership with South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service to offer each household visited a free fire safety check. They will offer further advice on fire safety and provide additional assistance to vulnerable households by providing items such as smoke alarms for the hard of hearing or visually impaired or flame retardant bedding and throws for those deemed at risk from smoking in bed or falling asleep whilst smoking under the influence of drugs, alcohol or medication.

This partnership will also see a number of visits to local secondary schools over the length of the programme to raise awareness of fire safety in the home.

Councillor Harry Harpham, Cabinet Member for Homes and Neighbourhoods, said,

“We want to make sure that our tenants and leaseholders are as safe as they can possibly be so we’ve worked closely with South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service on this project. We’re already on target to complete work to over 2000 properties before the end of March 2014, which is a fantastic achievement.”

Mark Beeley, Investment Manager, said,

“If a fire starts in one flat or a communal area then these improvements mean the fire and more importantly, smoke, is contained and much less likely to spread to other flats.

Gaining access to properties is our biggest challenge. I would encourage everyone who receives a letter from Kier about the work over the next four years to call the number provided as soon as possible to arrange access to carry out the works. Where customers don’t allow access then Sheffield Council will follow a legal process to gain access which is costly, time consuming, easily avoidable and puts people at increased risk.”