Fire Safety – the latest

Following the tragic events at Grenfell Tower this week, we want to make sure our residents have all the information they need about fire safety.

Please see the Network Homes Fire Safety advice leaflet here. For more advice and ways to stay safe in your home, please go to the London Fire Brigade’s website

Please read below for our latest advice:

Fire safety in blocks of flats

Following the tragic events that occurred this week at Grenfell Tower we would like to reassure all our residents living in purpose built blocks of flats that their buildings are safe.

SW9 Community Housing and Network Homes have comprehensive fire safety controls in place, which are reviewed and tested regularly. We have 100% compliant fire risk assessments for all our blocks and we have a primary authority partnership agreement with the London Fire Brigade, which audits our fire safety management arrangements.

As well as having up to date fire risks assessments in all our blocks of flats, we also have an ongoing programme to continually re-assess the buildings and act on the recommendations, including carrying out work where necessary.   

Since the fire on Wednesday, there’s been a lot of discussion about what people living in blocks of flats should do in the event of a fire. The London Fire Brigade has provided us with the following information, which we would like to share with you.

Advice from the London Fire Brigade:

People living in high rise properties are not at more risk of a fire starting. Our advice to people who live in high rise properties/purpose built flats or maisonettes, aside from having a smoke alarm and taking fire safety precautions, is to make sure you know the escape route and what to do if there is a fire inside your home or somewhere else in the building. The London Fire Brigade have a fire safety in the home leaflet downloadable from the LFB website.

The fire and rescue service works with local authorities, developers, and tenants to help ensure that the fire safety arrangements in high rise accommodation are safe and appropriate.  The advice provided by fire services is based on effective fire safety arrangements that are required, proposed, and then provided in the building – these will include compartmentation of the building and means of escape. 

If there is a fire inside your flat or maisonette our advice is to alert all the people in your flat and leave, closing your doors behind you. You should follow your escape plan and if there is lots of smoke, crawl along the floor where the air should be clearer. Always use the stairs rather than the lift and call 999 as soon as you are in a safe place.

If there is a fire elsewhere in the building then the structure of the building – walls, floors, doors – are designed to give you a minimum of 30-60 minutes’ protection from a fire to enable you to remain in your flat whilst it is dealt with by the Fire Service.

If there is a fire elsewhere in your building then you are usually safer to stay in your flat unless the heat or smoke from the fire is affecting you, in which case you can leave via the stairs if safe to do so.  If it is not safe to leave and you do remain in your flat call 999 and tell them which flat you are in.

Stay put policies and escapes plans  

Stay put advice only applies when you are not directly affected by the heat or smoke from a fire.

If you are directly affected by a fire you should leave the building immediately, notifying the emergency services on 999 when it is safe to do so.  

It’s very important for you to have an escape plan so in the event of a fire you and your family know what to do and how to leave the building. More information on creating an escape plan and other fire safety issues can be found at the following:

http://www.london-fire.gov.uk/EscapingFromAFire.asp

https://www.sw9.org.uk/living-in-your-home/repairs/fire-safety/

We will continue to review our evacuation policies in line with advice from London Fire Brigade and government. 

Items left in communal areas

In order to reduce the risk of fires spreading, communal areas in blocks of flats need to be clear of people’s possessions. Not only can they add extra ignition to a fire but they can trip people up when trying to escape. Our current approach to managing this is to place stickers on items advising residents they have seven days to remove them or we will dispose of them. From Monday 26 June this process will change and we will remove any possessions without further warning. We hope you will understand our reasons for doing this.

Media speculation

There’s been a lot of speculation in the media about the causes of Wednesday’s tragic fire. But it’s important to bear in mind the reasons for it and why it spread are still unknown and are not likely to be clear until the London Fire Brigade has finished its investigation.

We will continue to keep our residents updated as more information becomes clear. 

Your landlord, Network Homes has a dedicated Fire Safety Team who can answer any fire safety queries you may have. You can contact them on firesafety@networkhomes.org.uk or 0300 373 3000.