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Response to Grenfell Tower fire - statement from DCFO Chris Blacksell

14 June 2017

Following the horrific scenes in London overnight, Humberside Fire & Rescue Service is providing advice and reassurance to people who are concerned about the safety of high-rise buildings.

Response to Grenfell Tower fire - statement from DCFO Chris Blacksell

Deputy Chief Fire Officer Chris Blacksell wants to reassure anyone living in similar properties across the Humberside area:

"Our thoughts are with everyone who has been affected by this tragedy.

"The fire crews and emergency services have had a long night and their work will continue for many days to come. It would be wrong to speculate about the cause until a full investigation has been carried out by the appropriate authorities in London.

"On a local level, what we do know is that fires of this type are rare. High-rise buildings are designed to resist fire, stop the spread of smoke and provide a safe means of escape. Most fires don’t spread further than one or two rooms.

“Our public safety teams work closely with partner agencies and housing associations to help them put measures in place to make these buildings as safe as possible. Our crews also train regularly at these locations to familiarise themselves with the layout of the buildings and the obvious challenges faced at fire incidents. However, it is vital that residents remember exactly what to do in the event of a fire so that they can protect themselves and their families.

"All buildings of this type will have their own unique evacuation plan and residents should familiarise themselves with these and check that smoke alarms in their own properties are fitted and working.” 

[The photos were taken at a recent training exercise carried out at Albion House in Grimsby]

Update 15.45: Statement from Hull City Council on fire safety in multi-storey flats

Firstly, Hull City Council’s thoughts are with all of those affected by the fire in West London and the emergency services who are dealing with this tragedy. 

An incident as severe as the dreadful fire in Kensington is extremely rare, and we want to reassure our residents that public safety in multi-storey flats is of paramount importance to Hull City Council. We will be monitoring developments in London closely, looking to see what lessons can be learned from this incident and reviewing our own fire safety procedures if necessary.

Hull City Council has 25 blocks of high rise apartments in the city, all of which are subject to a thorough annual fire safety check and also assessed on a daily basis. 

The Facilities Management Officers for the multi-storey apartments who, along with Tenancy Officers, receive fire safety training, carry out a daily inspection to remove any combustible materials in communal areas and to ensure that fire precaution measures are in full working order. Any issues that are defective are reported for immediate repair. These daily checks are also backed up by regular spot checks by the tenants’ own Multi-Storey Living Group.

Hull City Council works closely with Humberside Fire and Rescue Service and holds a bi-monthly Fire Protection Meeting which focusses on the multi-storey flats in the city. Fire Service officers also work with our tenancy team to raise fire safety awareness among residents.

When tenants who move into multi-storey flats sign their tenancy agreement they receive a specific briefing about their responsibilities to prevent fire and are given advice on what to do should a fire break out in their block.

Hull City Council, like most local authorities around the country, follows the national guidance from the Local Government Association that says, in the event of a fire, the safest approach is for residents to stay in their apartment and keep doors and windows closed until the cause of the fire is known.

This enables the fire doors in the corridors to compartmentalise groups of flats and thereby “seal” the area, which slows down the progress of any possible fire.

In light of the Kensington fire, the Council will be monitoring developments at this incident very closely, looking to see what lessons can be learned and, in liaison with Humberside Fire & Rescue Service, reviewing our own fire safety procedures if this is necessary and ensuring that this is clearly communicated to our residents.

If any residents in Hull who are living in multi-storey flats are worried or have concerns about fire safety please contact the Council’s call centre on 01482 300 300 or e-mail us on housing.communications@hullcc.gov.uk      

Update 16.25: Statement from ONGO in North Lincolnshire

Please read the statement at https://www.ongo.co.uk/news-events/news/june-2017/ongo-homes-fire-safety/

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